Johanna price: bloom

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Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3

The snow falls steadily; it’s a typical Minnesota winter’s day.

Every being in this house is napping, with the exception of me and my heart dog Scout. The one who showed up on the doorstep of the Atlanta house I wish I’d never purchased, but the tool that God used to set my future into motion.

It’s quiet lazy Sundays like this—when there are toys strewn across my living room and diapers in the washing machine—that I remember this life of motherhood is God’s precious gift to me; a gift I long despaired I’d ever receive.

When we were battling infertility, when another month went by without two pink lines, I clung to Matthew 7:11.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

God cannot give me a bad gift. And if even Earthly fathers long to grant their children’s requests, how much more does our loving father in heaven long to give us the things we ask for?

There was purpose in my infertility. There was purpose in the waiting. I had hope then that there would be, because God’s word told me He had plans to give me hope and a future (Jer 29:11), but it wasn’t until I was on this side of the Jordan that I could see it.

Waiting woman, it is hard. Please hear me when I tell you that I know it’s hard. My heart almost turned to stone. I cried so hard once that I broke every blood vessel around my eyes. I grieved that if it weren’t for me, my husband would be someone’s daddy.

I almost fell into the trap of “why me?” Bitterness tried to grab me like a thief. But over and over I was reminded, yes, why NOT you? Have I ever gone hungry? Have I ever been unloved for even one minute? Have I ever been truly alone? No. Never. I have always been given more than I deserve. Because I deserve death.

And then on an ordinary Friday motherhood came in a phone call. A baby has been born. You’ve been chosen. Come and get your son. We drove through the plains and over mountains and through a blizzard, and my heart beat a brand new sound: mother love mother love mother love.

At the top of our stairs there was now a nursery; a room where a baby slept. Where a sweet boy was rocked and fed and sang over. He grew, and he grew. He smiled and laughed and walked and talked. He said “mamamamamama,” and “daddy” was his favorite word.

I dared not dream of more. How could this miracle happen again? Why me? Why would we deserve it?

Yes, He whispered. Why NOT you?

“He settles the barren woman in her home, a happy mother of children,” Psalm 113:9.

“This is for you,” He told me. “Remember: I can do anything.”

And on an ordinary Sunday night, much like this one, the phone chimed again. A friend asking, a young woman we know is looking for a family. Can we tell her about you?

Yes, we said again. Yes.

And so she called. And so we met. And so she came to our home and played with our son and we broke bread and watched movies and she took my hand and held it to her belly to feel this baby, a promise come to life, kicking away on the inside. And so we loved her.

And on a November morning, two years to the day we got word that a baby boy had been born, another text message chimed: “My water broke.” I raced to her and stood with her all day. Holding her hand, rubbing her back, encouraging her. The nurses kept asking, “Are you sisters?”

And that night, in darkness, our daughter entered the world.

When the nurse handed me a pink bundle, I whispered in her ear, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Our lives are ordinary. Our toddler watches too many Pixar movies, and our infant daughter wakes up in the night. We fight about what’s for dinner and who got up last with the baby. Our sliding glass doors are perpetually smudged by dog noses and toddler fingers.

But every minute of every day our life is a miracle. (And you know what? So is yours.)

God uses me, the worst of all sinners, so that you might believe.

At a baby shower celebrating this sweet baby girl, friends gathered around us, this tiny flower and me, put their hands on us, and prayed. Let her know You, Lord. Let her understand the sacrifice made by her first mother. Let her laugh and sing and chase after You, oh God. And someone prayed, “Thank you Lord for using Johanna’s life to bring You glory; thank You for Your faithfulness.”

And what I am learning, slowly but mightily, is that my story isn’t about me. It’s not about how God was faithful to me. These children are His. He knit them together in other women’s wombs. He protected them, and for plans that have yet to be glimpsed, He chose Aaron and me to be their parents.

My heart was broken at the thought of never being someone’s mother. I was crushed, and I mourned. I prayed, oh how I prayed, that if His will was for something else that He would plant a new desire in my heart. But He didn’t; instead He allowed that seed to burrow down in waiting and then, oh, how He let it bloom.

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  • Wow I mean wow…tears literally came to my eyes while reading this. Thank you so much Joanna for sharing your story. It definitely reminds you when you are surrounded by the bitterness of "why me" that God is right there with you.
    I have felt that way, not in the same situation, but letting the bitterness overwhelm me but God is always there is comfort me letting me know that he has a plan and I have to trust in the waiting period. It's hard believe me but I have faith that it will be worth. Thank you for that reminder!

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    Hallelujah! What a testimony, friend. I see God all over this. Redemption, the deep kind. So proud of you.

  • Absolutely precious! A true testament and inspiration of Gods love and your faithfulness. Thank you for sharing!

  • Johanna,
    As someone who is actively walking through the process of secondary infertility, your words were like balm to my soul. One of the biggest lies that Satan has tried to tell me through this exhausting, emotional time is that I am alone in this. I know that I am not, but it’s helpful to read posts like yours where it’s clear that I am far from the only women to feel this gut wrenching emotions. I do not want this to define who I am as a Christ follower, wife, and mother. I loved what you said about bitterness, that it tried to grab you like a thief. I have actively been fighting bitterness daily since our journey began. In the past 24 hours, I’ve had two pregnancy announcements and bore witness to a conversation between several women who were planning their third children… their biggest concern being that they didn’t want to “lap” their friends who had only had one baby so far. Oh, to have that be my biggest fertility problem. During those times, I feel bitterness start to grab my heart and squeeze and all I can do is cling to Christ and pray. Christ, His love, HIs goodness, His glory… it’s the only answer to infertility. As you said, why NOT me? My biggest problem, salvation, has been solved. May I cling to that in the hard days ahead. You are a gifted writer and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Johanna Price

      Rachel, thank you for sharing. I do not have bitterness beat; it's a daily fight! But I never want to miss the amazing blessings I get to share life with every day because I think God owes me something or that I'm "missing out" on something. Keep bringing your hurt and your questions to the cross.

  • What an amazing testimony. Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna. Your children are beautiful, and so blessed to have a mother and a father like your husband who will always treasure them for the precious gift that they are.

    I pray that the Lord will continue to bless your family, and show you and direct you on your path of motherhood. I'm only 19, so I don't know much about it. But I know my sister is only 16 months younger than me, so my mom has told me many stories of having a baby and a little toddler at the same time. I pray that you will stay strong mentally, physically, emotionally, and most of all spiritually so that you can raise your children up in the perfect will of the Father.

  • LaurenC_

    Johanna, your testimony touched me so deeply and gave me so many things to really think about. I've learned to hold my head up through waiting, suffering, and understanding that my desires may not be in line with His desires for me – and that's okay. But yet there can still be hope. "Why NOT me?" doesn't have to only apply to suffering, it can apply to blessings also. I too have prayed hard & often for God to remove a desire from my heart if it is not part of His will, and yet it remains. You've helped me see that perhaps He wants it to remain because, truly, He can do anything. I'm so blessed today by your testimony. You have a beautiful way of writing.

  • Beth Anne

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

    Thank you for those words. It's like you've known how I needed to hear them.

  • Johanna, I read your story last night as I was headed to sleep, and it literally brought me to tears. I am about to graduate from college and for the past 9 months I have been looking for a job. And over the past 9 months God has continually shut doors and has yet to provide me with that security post-graduation that I so want. It has been a journey for God and I wrestling, and your comments about the temptation to be bitter rang true for my life.

    Psalm 27:14 has become my anthem: "Wait for the Lord, be strong and courageous, wait for the Lord". Thank you for your willingness to share and your love for this community!

    • Johanna Price

      Abby, yes! Be strong & courageous. Thank you for sharing. Do whatever you can to fight off bitterness; it will choke out all your joy.

  • Wow! The testimony of your journey is just as beautiful as your family. I pray God continues to bestow blessings of all kinds on you!

  • Ellen MR

    Beautiful Johanna!
    “I almost fell into the trap of ‘Why me?’ Bitterness tried to grab me like a thief”…
    Yet you clung to God’s promises and your deepest desire became true. Not once, but twice! It’s not easy to turn away from doubt and the anguish of “why!?” when we are in the midst of such a season, but FAITH can accomplish so much!
    Bless you Johanna for holding on and showing me that I can’t give into the bitterness just waiting for me to give up…I’ve got to have faith, I’ve got to believe! Thank you…
    Wishing all the best for your lovely family, I’m so happy for you and may the Lord continue to bless you all! :)

  • Candacejo

    "Is there anything too hard for hard for the Lord?" Genesis 18:14. Of course not! And your story reminds us that He is faithful and to hold on to His promises….He will show up just as He told Abraham and Sarah, and Johanna!

    God bless your growing family…

  • Johanna thank you so much for sharing your story, which is HIS story. What an encouragement to all of us about God's faithfulness and love. Although my waiting comes in the form of singleness your story reminds me that God HEARS and SEES me.

    "I prayed, oh how I prayed, that if His will was for something else that He would plant a new desire in my heart. But He didn’t; instead He allowed that seed to burrow down in waiting and then, oh, how He let it bloom."

    He is a redeemer and yes He goes far beyond what we can imagine.

    Sisters praying for each one of us who is in a season of waiting. That we would lean in on who He is and what we believe. He hears our cries and He knows what is best. LOVE all of y'all.

  • shehasnofear

    Sweet Johanna… what a beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness! On this snowy April day with coffee spilled all over myself, I'm remembering with you… He gives no bad gifts. Praising Him for your beautiful family, for His Father-love for all His children. <3

  • Elizabeth

    "God uses me, the worst of all sinners, so that you might believe" and "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

    Out of everything, these are what struck me most, because I often speak of myself as, "the worst of all sinners."

    Thank you for reminding me of the hope I have in Him and His infinite wisdom.

  • Carolynmimi

    Indeed a wonderful testimony to God's faithfulness and to the fruitfulness that patience ( long suffering) produces.

  • Thank you Johanna. What a precious testimony of God’s faithfulness.

  • Jen Lemke

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for three years. Let me tell you, it is the most isolating and heartbreaking thing I have ever been through. Hearing someone’s victory story keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. All the emotion in this story had me saying, “Yes! That’s me!” I strive to keep God’s will for our lives in the forefront of my mind and at the root of all decisions, but I have to admit, it is constant battle when the struggle has dragged on for so many months. As irrational as it is, I wonder sometimes, has He forsaken us? I KNOW that is not the case, and that all things WILL work together for our good, but at times, I feel like I am floundering under the immense weight of the grief that accompanies infertility. I appreciate the candor in this post, and we will keep moving forward knowing that whatever happens, God’s plan for our lives is more perfect than anything we have planned. God bless you for sharing this testimony.

    • Johanna Price

      Jen, holding you. He is working. He is moving. You WILL get to the other side—the side he has planned for you.

  • "I prayed, oh how I prayed, that if His will was for something else that He would plant a new desire in my heart. But He didn’t; instead He allowed that seed to burrow down in waiting and then, oh, how He let it bloom."

    This touched me deeply. God knows. I've been praying for something now for 8 months, literally night and day. After being kept in the waiting for a while, you start to doubt promises that you once believed God spoke to your heart. You start to question if he hears you (which of course, we've already covered that he DOES). Lately, in my questioning, I've started to add a prayer that goes something like this, "But God, if this is not from you, please remove my desire for it." And yet, at least once, he's confirmed to me that the desire IS from him. It's his desire too. Oh, but the waiting…

    Thank you so very much for sharing, Johanna. Your story is beautiful–almost as beautiful as your precious babies. What a testimony of hope and endurance.

    Blessings, ladies!

    • Johanna Price

      Nicole, the waiting is so hard. I often think about the Israelites. How hard it must have been to stay in that desert! But God used it for their good and his glory. He always does! May your wait be short; may His peace flow through it.

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Johanna. A wonderful testimony to our awesome Heavenly Father and his love & faithfulness to His children. God bless you & your family.

  • jesusgirl71

    Wow! psalm 113 was part of my bible reading today. That coment about why not me? It's something I've heard before, but it's something I need to remember. god is so good! god bless all of you!

  • God bless you & your beautiful family Johanna!! Thank you for sharing.

  • ggirls0812

    Thank you for sharing your testimony and beautiful adoption story. I am a proud adoptive mom, as well. Although our stories are different, our hearts are the same. God bless you and your family.

  • AmyKelly213

    What a beautiful testimony of faith!!! So beautifully written!! You are amazingly blessed! Thank you so very much for sharing!!!

    • Johanna Price

      Thank you!

      • Christianna

        Johanna, thank you for sharing your story and allowing GOD to use you in so many ways. My husband and I have been infertile since 2005 and its been pretty horrible! I have held on with Faith but then I let go, I get mad at GOD, I start to believe again and like you asked that he remove this desire. I found myself gettinng cold towards the idea… in fact just last night I felt myself getting depressed and then this morning… crying, asking GOD why me??? What have I done wrong? In a year we moved out of state, lost everything, am not working, family illness, everything crazy has happened but GOD remains in my heart…… SO then I asked Him today to just take it away… Then comes your email……. and I must tell you I didnt even want to read past the first couple of sentences after the word "infertility" but crying and all I read it and I want to thank you for sharing. I cant say im totally there yet but I am working on it!! Thank you and May God bless you and your precious family richly!!!

        Proverbs31love

        • Johanna Price

          Oh Christianna, thank you for sharing. Keep wrestling. At least when we're wrestling, we're still connected to Him.

  • rocknitat55

    Oh my! What a testement to how goooooood God is. He never just does, he does exceedingly above and beyond what we can imagine. Double for your trouble! When I think of his goodness and kindness toward us I just want to shout!

    Joanna thank you for sharing your testimony, for some reason I could’t sleep so of course I roll over and read SRT, it brought tears to my eyes, joy to my heart, and hope to my spirit. I too am waiting on something from God that seems to have eluded me, and at times my flesh cries out, my Lord have you forgotten me? Your testimony reminded me that with God all things are possible. They that wait upon the Lord shall…..

    God bless you and your beautiful family.

    Trust….. ladies have a terrific Tuesday.

    • Johanna Price

      Thank you so much! Yes, Ephesians 3:20 was the verse we clung to during our adoptions. He is so good!

  • Tina blankson

    Wow.
    Truly wow.
    Thank you Joanna for sharing your story of how God honours his children. . Indeed as parents we would never dream of giving our children bad gifts. . Why them would we believe the Lord God of all creation would. .
    Faith. Trust. Believe. These are it.! And they have to come together. We can have Faith, but don.t actually believe, theses no point in dreaming– we can have trust, but again if there is no Faith, cancel the dream. .

    Thank you Lord God, for your gift of family, however they come to us. where there is a bond, a love. . That is family. Bless you Lord God that you heard the cry of Joanna and that you have filled her good with joy and laughter.
    Lord i pray you continue to bless this family.
    Lord i pray you continue to build Joanna s house with more joy and laughter. You are good. And thank you for your love that lasts beyond our unworthyNess and into forever.
    God bless your family Joanna. X x

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