snapdragons, geraniums, zinnias and roses. wild things on my table, and on the windowsill.
and it was me, like a seed, cracked open and broken, under darkness with water cold over by bones and it was light I could not see, all the warmth I could not feel. if not a mother, no idea who I could be.
rain fell with promise. storms raged in anguish. there was noise, but it was silence for me. I grew, then died, grew again, then bloomed and it wasn’t just one thing I became.
the garden outgrew my soul, and I towered with life like a lighthouse at ocean nothing around but hope.
and I was life in a hundred ways. . . out at sea, in the garden, underground, in the questions, holding flowers, pouring sorrow, always seen always loved by my God.
it was armfuls of spring repeatedly in winter. so it wasn’t all flowers, but it was.-S.V.F. #sierravfpoetry
Garden Lullaby series launches tomorrow! Looking forward to sharing how God used the garden to help me heal through infertility. Done in “real time” as I’m sharing past personal reflections!
Yes, it’s true! Originally $15, HopeGivesaEulogy is only $10.19 for the holiday season! If you have PRIME, that’s $10.19 flat and if you don’t, just add it to your holiday shopping cart, because Hope Gives a Eulogy qualifies for FREE shipping on orders over $25! With Black Friday sales coming up, you’ll probably find yourself on Amazon more than once and I’m so glad I can offer Hope Gives a Eulogy for $10 and mere cents!
The holidays can be intense and painful for those experiencing infertility and this is such a comforting and powerful read about the reality of spring after (and sometimes during!) a wintry soul season.
Whether this book is for you or a friend, I know there will be poems you relate to especially during the holiday season which is always a mixture of joy and sorrow.
Here’s a 5-star review for Hope Gives a Eulogy given by someone who has felt the pain of infertility personally.❤👇
“I will be returning to these poems again and again on this infertility journey. Sierra has a unique talent for capturing complex emotions in small word counts. As someone who is also longing for “spring” – even if I never have my own baby – these poems gave me hope that I can climb out of this hole and find joy. Grateful for this collection!”
I LOVE what she says here because that means HopeGivesaEulogy has portrayed spring accurately. It doesn’t always mean a baby, but it does mean LIFE!❤
On September 10,2019, I began a new prayer journal.
I’ve been keeping prayer journals consistently since I was about 16 years old. I have a box for my old prayer journals and year calenders. If there were to be a fire that burned our house down which is a very real possibility every year in norther California, that box is one of the only things I really care about taking with me.
I love going back through my prayer journals and seeing how God was present with me in all my emotions and fears, how He has answered requests, the things He has taught me, etc. Those journals hold so much proof that my faith in Christ is not in vain.
I realized last night that I only had 3 pages left in my current prayer journal and I would be finishing it September 2021, a little over two years since I began. Admittedly since getting pregnant (and also early postpartum and other times!!), I’ve had long stretches where I haven’t written down a prayer at all. But I love that we began in September and will end in September two years later.
So, I began this prayer journal while still walking through infertility. At this point, I was much on the healing end, but still grieving deeply. I was opening my eyes to life and asking God to open my eyes to the life He was giving while also bringing to Him my deep sorrow and struggle with the passage of time. Words I used were loneliness, starkness, disappointment, exhaustion, persistent heartache. So while I was healing in deep and immense ways, I wasn’t “past it.”
On November 19,2019, I saw two lines on a pregnancy test for the first time and then it rained that night and how I loved that. There’s not a lot of white space left on that journal entry. Fast forward quite a bit to July 2021 and I found out I’m pregnant again.
So, what I love most about this prayer journal is that it began with infertilty and holds not one but two pregnancies within its pages. I didn’t expect that, but those are the kinds of things God can do.
Sometimes, I like to go back and read past prayers. So last night, on September 23,2021 I flipped the pages and found September 23,2019. I was in a totally different season of life two years ago, but I was still learning and experiencing God’s good gifts. I was working through the goodness of God and wrote, “While I know that You (God) don’t like to see me in pain. . .it is good that You (God) have not given me children.” That’s a complex thought. But in that season of quiet and grief, I healed and became sure of God’s goodness. I began to know God more deeply. I noticed the “obscure” gifts from God’s hand. I got more excited about heaven. I found freedom and hope in God to live the life I had.
Two years later, I’m praying for two children and still experiencing God’s goodness. I’m still learning to trust God, really trust Him. His goodness has stretched far and wide through every season of the journey and it is I who is learning to live fully in whatever those good gifts are and trust Him with the present and the future. This prayer jouranl is lined pages with the reality of God meeting me wherever I was, however I was.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
In a roundabout way that bring us to the poetry series for this October!
I wrote a story in 20 poems that reflects my journey beginning in the dust and ash of infertility into healing, saying yes to my life, being given beautiful, unexpected gifts along the way, and then learning not to be afraid of those good gifts from God. I will carry the history of infertility and grief inside me forever. It is a part of my frame, but it is not my story. But these days, I’m learning to take long, slow walks in the garden I’ve been given without the fear of death and the dying of all good things.
I am beginning to understand good gifts from God will always be good gifts form Him even if the pain and brokeness of this world touches those good things. Once received, always received. I can trust God in the bad times and in the good times.
While I wrote these poems from a place of personal experience, they do not mention specific things like infertility or my subsequent pregnancies. It is a story I hope you can step into with your own personal experiences. And I think you will. I really do.
So, next Tuesday, September 28th, I’ll reveal the title, the first poem, and where you’ll be able to access the rest! It will be completely free, and available in a couple different formats. I’m excited!
I think we share this story. Maybe in different ways, but at the heart of it, this is us.
I realized how strong my body was after giving birth!
Wow, I can’t believe I did that!
Just a few of the phrases you may hear on podcasts, Youtube channels, Instagram stories or read on Facebook posts, blogs, Pinterest boards. It’s endless. And to the woman who hasn’t given birth with a body that feels like it’s against her, incapable, unable, weak, forgotten. . .well, those adjectives are endless, too.
I heard someone talking about her birth experience, but instead of relating to her exclamations of a capable, strong body, able to do the hard work of giving birth, I kept thinking how the women walking through infertility would hear those words. And not in a self-pity way, but those words are bound to scrape against wounds that may just reopen and loose the grief always just below the surface.
Is she incapable?
Does she have the body that can’t do amazing and hard things?
Is her body the broken thing? The forgotten vessel? The hollow sound of what could be, but isn’t. . .
So here’s the blog post where I talk about how capable and strong the bodies are of the women stumbling through infertility.
Your body is so strong and so capable.
For smiling when your friend tells you she’s pregnant.
For getting out of bed after another year of nothing.
For crying and meeting the grief of childlessness head-on.
For getting off the bathroom floor (again).
For smiling when your friend tells you she’s pregnant for the second time.
For walking through the baby asile by faith or pushing your legs right past, because it’s not a healthy place for you to be.
For letting your voice speak though it cracks as you ask the doctor questions you never wanted to ask, consent to tests or medication you never wanted in your story.
For letting your body curl up tigther than you knew it ever could, because there is pain to face as you say yes to healing. Say yes to God. Say yes to life.
For waking up to Christmas morning and Mother’s Day and Easter and Father’s Day and taking deep breaths, letting the day be what it is–hard, or numb, or empty, or just nothing at all.
For holding his hand evermore.
For arms that hold her baby. And her baby. And her baby. And hers too.
For hands that throw out the negative pregnancy test. And you’ve lost count, but you face the trash can and let go of one line all over again.
For the womb holding unmet expectations, pulling you ever toward hope and life. Baby or no baby.
For the strength of a body and heart that carries on through every season and setback, every pregnancy that isn’t yours, every baby shower, holiday, announcement, negative test, and sleepless night.
For the long labor of endurance which (with Jesus) always ends in life whether or not you ever house a second heartbeat.
For doing one of the hardest, most painful things on earth–not carrying a baby within you though you long for it.
For a body that says yes to life as your feet touch the floor every morning, and you call the doctor for results, and you hear no again, and you congratulate another friend on getting pregnant.
You’re choosing life with your body every day. And I celebrate the life you are and all the ways you have chosen it for yourself and your family, your present and your future.