I’ve invited you to walk with us in our mourning over the years, and today I’m honored to invite you to join us in rejoicing…

With humbled hearts, we joyfully share that Baby Ciervo #4 is due this July. To be more specific, Baby Ciervo #4 is due, 5 years to the day from the loss of our first little babe.

Sweet Baby Roo as you’ve been so lovingly nicknamed by myself and your Daddy, (It started as Baby Kangaroo? Don’t ask, we’re weird and giddy), we’re so in love with you. You are such a good gift, most days I don’t even know how to process it. As a dear friend encouraged, I want to soak you up, every moment. The first few weeks I struggled to believe you were even true! I choose to celebrate your little life, regardless of the future. You have no idea what happened in my heart when we watched you wave and hiccup during your ultrasound. It’s hilarious how proud we are. Already the Lord is using you to heal deep places in my heart. We are waiting, with so much anticipation, to see who you will be. We pray He gives us the grace to shepherd and disciple you well. Sweet little thing, we love you. So much.

If this tender news pricks a bruised and aching spot of your heart, please know that I honor you. I’m not sorry, I hated people apologizing to me. An apology forgets that each of us has a unique story, and none looks identical. You are not to be pitied. I honor you because I know you’re in a battle, encountering depths, asking hard questions, fighting fears, struggling to manage emotions. Please hear my hopefully freeing, not mitigating words: you are free. It is ok to not be thrilled over someone’s realized dreams when you are in the midst of yours shattered. There is no guilt, no condemnation, you just keep working through right where you are with Him. The Scripture I would offer you is “Jesus Wept.” Yes His timing is perfect and yes He knows His plans (for all of us), but oh how painfully dismissive and somewhat misguided that can sound in loss. This brokenness, barrenness and loss, is not the design. Jesus wept when His good friend died knowing full well He was about to raise him back to life. But still, the brokenness, the death, it wounds. It creates ache and longing for future and full restoration of the original design. I ache & long with you.

I’m not checking out, I’m not switching over to feeling #Blessed because I suddenly got something I wanted. I’ve learned (through much much grumbling), we are blessed, because we have Hope, we have Christ. You, my friend, are blessed, even if you feel forgotten. You are not. Even if you feel rejected, you are not. Suffering is a beautiful, painful fire of refinement. The nearness of Him is, in my opinion, best felt in heartache and sorrow, because it is there that we drop the facade and come to Him, honest, angry, questioning, hurting. And if we stay there, with our hearts bust wide open before Him, over time, we begin to notice something, He remains. He doesn’t shrink away, He doesn’t smite (though I definitely went next level in cursing His name a few cold and dark days in January and February 2016). He doesn’t shame. He doesn’t mock. He doesn’t point you to someone else’s plight to say “suck it up.” He remains, even if it seems silently at times. And as the days pass, you begin to see this patience, this longsuffering of His, and you begin to trust Him, maybe more fully than before. You begin to see how your “intellectual” doubts in fact stemmed from emotions. You begin to feel a tenderness. Those prayers that He would “just keep you,” just give you some “faith that leads to joy and gratitude,” you notice, He has begun to answer, and was the One interceding all along. Like a small seedling that slightly withers almost every other week, but then strengthens with water, you see He’s been in this process of growing, nurturing, pruning you. And the circumstances haven’t changed. Yet, you have.

In line with this, some things to NOT take away from our news.

  • God gives you what you want when you stop wanting the gift and start wanting Him more. This is a disguised half truth, He does want your whole heart. But deciding to want Him with your whole heart in order to get what you want actually means you’ve just made that particular desire look pretty and christianized and you really don’t want Him fully. I’ve done this. A lot.
  • Answered prayers shouldn’t be celebrated because God is good regardless. To be honest, I have struggled with this personally. For so long my pleadings and prayers weren’t answered in the way I’d hoped, and yet by His grace I still learned of His goodness. So when an answered prayer of a life to carry came, I didn’t know how to rejoice. I’ve been having to learn how to go there and celebrate. Regardless of circumstances, He is good. He gives good gifts. And they’re sometimes really fun! When they aren’t, we can be honest. When they are, we can be honest. This little babe is a SWEET gift and we are EXCITED. We truly can glorify Him in lament and in seasons of plenty.
  • She got a baby because…nope. He’s just gracious. Don’t let yourself play the mind games I did. I was convinced I kept miscarrying because of an immaturity or some sinful disposition I held. I was being punished while others rewarded. Let me just be clear, in many ways we’re all in sinful dispositions and still immature. We are not granted things (suffering or gifts) based on our own merit. My counselor looked at me kindly and tenderly said, “Darby, look around, God doesn’t grant children based on maturity.” Please look in the mirror and repeat that.
  • Oh this is good, finally a replacement for those miscarriages. Loss is loss. Yes to be honest, it does feel healing that with this little one I’ll hopefully get to taste practical motherhood: the up all nights, the cries, the coos, the laughs, so there is a sweetness in that. But the three little lives that came before this one will forever hold places in my heart and forever be missed this side of eternity. I’m finally feeling some freedom in accepting the fact that with each first in this longer pregnancy there is a twinge of grief over what we missed with each of the others, and that’s ok. We live in such a time of paradox, redemption and brokenness, sorrow and gladness. Holding both is a beautiful practice.
  • She must be frolicking about these days. excuse me as I LOL for a moment. Most days I wake up, ask Jared if he thinks this is still real, stumble through a prayer of surrender, then look in the mirror and tell myself I am in fact pregnant and this is in fact my current reality. I’m learning this practice of feebly trusting, surrendering in the midst of fear, rather than controlling and demanding in the midst of fear. And I’m learning to refuse the shame that comes with not feeling how I feel like I should feel (um, not at all a mental spiral). In my opinion this way is not as comfortable (duh). I’d much rather pretend that if I do XYZ, I’ll simply have this baby in my arms come July. But I believe this practice leads to a totally different, truly freed perspective on this life. More to come on this I’m sure.

So with that, I wrap up potentially the weirdest pregnancy announcement ever. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to each of you for how you’ve chosen to join in lamenting with us, and thank you, for rejoicing with us. Whichever season you currently find yourself in, I pray He and His goodness, lovingkindess, and mercy are ever becoming more beautiful to you. Its all grace, friends.