People tell me their stories all the time.
Every day I get emails from couples hoping to conceive and prayer requests from pregnant women worried about miscarriage. Since our daughters died in February, I get stories from parents who have lost babies to stillbirth or infant loss.
Readers share their hardest stories, their heart-heavy stories. I am honored and humbled to hold them – even for only a moment, even if I feel I have little light to shine in their darkness. I wish I could respond to every single one, but they all join my litany of prayers.
I know our stories are what matter most.
We realized that the stories we were telling each other as friends circled around the same challenges. (Maybe you find this in your friendships, too.) We are moms of many, and it’s hard but good. We are writers and bloggers, and it’s hard but good. We are trying to live our vocation to marriage, and it’s hard but good.
So we decided to write about the parts of marriage that people don’t usually talk about. The hardest parts that we didn’t know about when we got married.
We took a deep breath and jumped in. We told our own stories of struggle around wanting, carrying, and raising children – more honestly than we’ve told them elsewhere. We asked our husbands to write with us, and we saw how they experienced the same struggles from their own perspectives. We invited six other bloggers to share their journeys, and we realized how much we have in common across our differences.
Today we’re launching Waiting in the Word: A Couple’s Journey. It’s a 4-week Scripture study for couples, based on the simple prayer practice of lectio divina. And it dives deeply into four themes that every couple encounters in their marriage: waiting, embracing, suffering, and growing.
We wanted to help couples have conversations about the hard parts of marriage and raising young families. So each week offers personal reflections, Scripture verses, and discussion questions designed to help couples have one good conversation each week about where they are finding God at work in their marriage. (We figured that’s realistic for all of us!)
All the stories share struggles with fertility. From infertility to hyperfertility. From pregnancy to parenting. From small families to big families. From miscarriage and loss to fostering and adoption. From everyday challenges to extraordinary struggles.
Nell, Nancy, and I also wanted to tell real stories about using natural family planning in our marriages. We’re tired of NFP being painted as either easy and effortless (inside church) or crazy and close-minded (outside church). We’re committed to NFP and the good gifts that it has brought to our marriages, but we want to tell the truth about the struggles that having children has brought, too.
More than that, we wanted to build up a supportive community for the deepest challenges we face in our marriages. We wanted other couples to feel less alone in their struggles, no matter where they find themselves.
Having kids, not having kids, wanting more kids, wanting less kids, worrying about the past or worrying about the future – whatever the situation, we wanted to help couples know that God is with them, God is faithful, and God is loving.
(The hardest stories can lead to the simplest truths.)
So we hope you’ll join us for Waiting in the Word: A Couple’s Journey – available here for pre-sale today for only $9.
Included in your Waiting in the Word study is an e-book with 4 weeks of personal reflections and daily Scripture study, a printable companion journal to help you write your own story, a couple’s discussion guide with weekly questions and prayer suggestions, and a printable bookmark to help you become comfortable with the practice of lectio divina.
We have an amazing Facebook community that works through the studies together, and we hope you’ll join us there to share your questions and stories as well. The study can be used by yourself, with your spouse, or as part of a Bible study.
The response to this study has already been mind-blowing. We invited our readers to share with us their biggest struggles around fertility, and their honesty blew us away. We’ve heard stories from so many different perspectives, situations, and circumstances – but we want to hear yours, too.
Our stories are what matter most. And when we bring them to God’s story in Scripture, we find hope that we are never alone – no matter what we are facing, no matter where we are called next.
We’ll be starting the study together on Sunday, October 16th. (Grab your copy today for only $9 before the presale ends on Monday, October 10th!)