When my siblings and I were just kids, before moving to our family farm, we lived on a 2.5 acre homestead. Our land was filled with sheep, horses, chickens, rabbits, a dog, a steer named Leo, and sometimes up to 10 cats depending on how many had been pregnant that season. We also had several four-wheelers that we would take out on joyrides all throughout the pastures behind our home. But our neighbors down the street lived in a thick patch of woods and they let us drive our four-wheelers down their path to enjoy a different type of riding. The thrill of riding full speed down an open path of grass is one thing, but exploring in and around trees was a whole other kind of delight.
My siblings and I had so much fun back in the woods. Slowly the forest turned into a make-believe neighborhood of sorts. Certain trees became our homes and particular strips of land in-between the foliage became the streets we’d drive our four-wheels down. I specifically remember “Grandma’s outhouse” which was a hollowing stump behind another tree. But the one thing that’s really etched into my memory is the map we drew of the “town” we had created out of the forest around us. It was a guide to some of the most fun and carefree days of my childhood.
Thinking back over this past year, that family memory of our enchanting forest town came to mind as I reflected on how God has built a map of His own in my life—as He does with all of us. If you’ve been with Yes& for a while and happened to read my last piece, it was just over a year ago. A lot can change in a year and little did I realize that as I wrote out each and every word of that article a year ago, God was drawing in the lines to map out something greater and bigger than what I could see in that moment of time. If you haven’t read The Detour, I hope you will and, even more so, I hope it is of great encouragement to you. But in short, just over a year ago, my husband and I were in the midst of a detour while trying for our second child. After nearly two years of infertility and miscarriage, we found ourselves in a symbolic parallel while driving from Nashville to Pennsylvania. We were detoured onto a different path that final leg of the drive when God spoke to me through a simple cup of coffee, (yeah, you’ll need to read it to understand that part). God spoke of using the seemingly insignificant things in life to build my faith to believe for the incredibly significant things, only to bring it back around and remind me that EVERYTHING is in fact significant to Him whether or not we choose to label it as so.
When I sat down to write that piece there was a sense of urgency—in addition to the prompting by my mom—to record that story, if even just for my own personal journal. I am so glad I did, because less than two weeks later, a second little blue line appeared on a home pregnancy test and our long awaited child was on her way!
Our Arden Irene was born almost exactly 40 weeks later from that day I felt God's gracious reminder to not lose hope. I could tell you all the struggles I was up against, all the doubts and fears knocking at my door, but that is for another piece and another time. This right here is about giving God praise for what He has done and giving testimony to the fact that what He said would be birthed was (literally) birthed! There were many dark moments in those two years leading up to the start of Arden’s life inside my womb, but God has delivered us from that trial and He will do it again for others.
Despite the blurring pain, I always knew that God would use that part of our story to breathe life and hope into others who are also walking through a “detour” season. Until I went through it myself, I never realized just how common this struggle can be—nor did I realize how many couples in the community around me had struggled themselves. So, if you find yourself in a place where you need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness, let our story encourage you today. Let it be a monument standing proudly, displaying what God has done and can do for you too! He is faithful and He is near. You may be at the start of that trail map, or maybe in the middle, or maybe you’re just inches from deliverance, but hang in there and allow Him to guide you through in entirety. Who knows, maybe like my childhood forest-neighborhood four-wheeling rides, the roads you are traveling will lead to some of the most joyous and carefree days of your life!
Mary Kate is farm girl from Pennsylvania who found herself living in Australia and Colorado before settling down in Nashville with her husband, Dustin. In addition to parenting a spirited toddler, they run Plaid Owl Creative. mK is a family girl at heart - she loves to adventure with her family and invest in the lives of families of Creatives. When she's not traveling or hosting, you can find mK curled up in front of a movie with chocolate & popcorn!