February 6th, 2013

Joy and Peace


Joy and Peace

Joy and peace.
Those are the words that chose me this year.

Joy and peace.
They have been lacking in my life for a long time now. I am weary of being weary.

New Year’s Day marked the five-year anniversary of Israel and I trying to start a family. I cried a lot this holiday season. I felt heavy again with grief. No one really knew but Israel. I didn’t really want anyone to know. I think I’m ashamed of this extended sadness, tired of confessing it to others. Infertility is such a private grief. Perhaps all grief is private?

It was a sad holiday season. We passed half a decade on this leg of our journey. I can’t believe it’s been so long. Christmas always reminds me of the children who live in my heart, but not in my home, of the family and friends who are far away, separated by miles or by brokenness.

I celebrated my 29th birthday. I am almost 30, and my life is not what I thought it would be. There is a quote, from a book I haven’t read, which says, “So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” Yes, that sums up my birthday quite well.

A few days before Christmas, Israel’s sister told us she was pregnant. This will be the first grandchild. I’m staring at the screen, trying to put into words the jumble of emotions this brings—hard-fought joy and expectation for this new life, deep sadness and confusion.

My heart has long been a dark and barren place. I have walked what seems an endless storm of sorrow and grief. I am so very different from who I was when we started down this path. I am so changed.

Joy. Peace.

These words have sprouted up from the cracked ground of my heart.

I am tired of dwelling in the darkness. I am tired of living in this fog of confusion. I am weary of this thing that has controlled my life for so long.

I desperately want joy.
I desperately want peace.

I would not trade these five years. I would not trade the years of trying, and failing, to conceive. I would not trade the two barely-there babies. I would not trade the tears, the confusion, the despair, even my darkest days.

I would not trade these things, for from them I have seen the goodness of God. I trust God now. I believe this time, these losses, this darkness, have been gifts. Gifts for my sanctification. Gifts for our marriage. Gifts for the good of others. Gifts that not everyone receives.

My heart is roomy now. I have welcomed in many beautiful souls. I am willing to love. I know better now what it means to love. I am comfortable with others’ hurt. I am able to sit with them in their heartbreak, to simply hold them through the confusion and tears. I am comfortable with the conundrum now, with the whys of our loss.

These are graces of God.

But I am ready to leave behind my mourning and turmoil.

I still have no answers. I still have no idea what the future holds, where our path will lead, but I do not need to know.

Joy and peace.

Right where I am
in this place
with these people
with this heart
and these losses
and these uncertainties.

God is good. God is sovereign.
Joy.               Peace.

This is the year I fight for them.


6 Responses to “Joy and Peace”


  • Melinda says:

    Dani, your words are life! Thank you for sharing. MommaJ

  • Holly says:

    Seems like such an oximoron, doesn’t it? “Fighting” for Joy and Peace – two things that are the exact opposite of fighting and struggling.

    Yet, that is the very thing that we must do. Fight the lies of the enemy, and counteract the misleading attempts by the heart to figure it all out, and not invite Christ in our pain and just “be”.

    January 18th was the rememberance of my last bio daughter’s birth/entry into heaven. 32 weeks in utero…now ten earth years spent remembering the day she was carried into eternity.

    (((hugs friend)))

  • Ash and Hannah says:

    This is beautiful. So love you guys, and so proud of you and your examples. We miss you, love you, and are committed to fighting with you.
    Ash and Han

  • Wynona says:

    Dani, thank you for sharing…for being so transparent, the true path to healing. You don’t know me, but I know your “Jernigan” family, and you are truly blessed…you are a beautiful soul, both inside and out. I love, love, love this. God bless you deeply and richly…hugs and prayers for you and Israel.

  • Marcy says:

    I love LOVE this post… this is the reality of God’s promise and ability to bring beauty from ashes, to trade in our SORROW for the joy of the Lord! What a touching testimony of a life which acknowledges pain and devastation in life… yet clings to the cross with an open hand and open heart. May many others see your example and remember it in their own times of suffering, to receive comfort from one who has been in the mud and known God’s comfort.

  • Pops says:

    Dani, I’m so very proud of you.

    My heart hurts for your pain, but I know that God’s best work emerges from the fire of anguish and despair and grief. Your soul is richer, broader, more loving than it was 5 years ago at the start of this journey. No one knows the private grief of another soul, and no one can share the joy and peace of the touch of God in the midst of that grief.

    I hurt for your pain. I rejoice in your loving Savior, and trust Him for your Joy and Peace.

    I love you beyond what I can effectively express.