By Danielle Haluska
God's Brave Women - Danielle's Story
I think the word brave can often be wrapped up in the notion that we’ve stepped up and done something extravagant. Something so big, others can’t imagine that you were actually able to do it - the thing that seems impossible. But sometimes, brave is getting out of bed and facing the day. Sometimes, brave is having that difficult conversation that we’ve been holding off for years. Sometimes, brave is saying, I’m not okay and I need help. Being brave doesn’t have to come from a place of moving mountains. But rather, it can be showing up and doing the hard thing - that is brave.
Infertility is my brave.
At one point during our infertility journey one of my friends would tell me almost daily that she was proud of me. At a moment when I felt like a coward and at my weakest, someone was expressing they were proud of me. For what?
After some time of hearing this, I finally had my breaking point. “Please stop telling me you are proud of me. I am not doing anything to be proud of.” But to her, seeing the heartbreak and sadness from my empty arms, she knew just getting out of bed was hard. Getting up and still facing the day took every ounce of courage I had - staying in bed would have been the easier thing to do - and for that, she was proud of me.
"... in that moment, the bravest thing I did was show up. While there was only the tiniest bit of hope mustering around in me along with the overpowering heartache, I let that hope be my guide and I still showed up."
You see, in that moment, the bravest thing I did was show up. While there was only the tiniest bit of hope mustering around in me along with the overpowering heartache, I let that hope be my guide and I still showed up. I may not have had it all together and I may not have looked very brave due to my daily disheveled appearance, but showing up was the bravest thing I could have done at that time.
Sometimes just stepping out in faith is the bravest thing we can do for ourselves – having trust that God is fully in control – there is nothing more brave than that. Scripture tells us to be strong and courageous, to not have fear (Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 Corinthians 16:13 - I could go on, but you get the point, yes?). While there are no clear-cut instructions of what those scriptures say we need to be strong and courageous about, it does say in all things we should take heart and be comforted by God alone.
Philippians 4: 6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
"He asks us to put trust in all things from Him, through Him, for Him (Romans 11:36). Having trust in all situations, understanding God has control, puts us in a place of contentment… the exact thing that allows us to be brave."
He asks us to put trust in all things from Him, through Him, for Him (Romans 11:36). Having trust in all situations, understanding God has control, puts us in a place of contentment… the exact thing that allows us to be brave. When we are content in who we are through Christ’s eyes, there’s no question of the trajectory of the difficult thing we are trying to accomplish.
I wish I would have had this wisdom while experiencing infertility. Instead, I often turned my back on God, believing a loving God would never bring so much hurt to my life. I wrestled with self-loathing that surely this was a punishment of past mistakes. I was not a Christian who deserved the desire of my heart to be fulfilled. My husband did not deserve to have a wife who was failing so miserably at life. Things began to spiral and I hit an all-time low in my life. But in the valley, something beautiful happened. Jesus met me there.
I took one step forward in faith and did something I had never done before. I cried out to Jesus. I asked (sometimes screamed) for understanding. I begged of Him to allow me to know what He knew about our infertility journey. And let me just tell you, He showed up. He made His presence known.
I wish I could sit here and say with confidence that I’ve continued to hold on to all the ways God has shown up in my life as a keepsake for when things become awry - but that’s not always the case. However, I have found that over time the more I lean in, the more I feel His loving arms. The more I embrace His goodness to be what is true, I gain understanding. The more I take those steps of faith, the more I experience His guidance.
"I have found that over time the more I lean in, the more I feel His loving arms. The more I embrace His goodness to be what is true, I gain understanding. The more I take those steps of faith, the more I experience His guidance."
On November 25, 2015, after waiting over 3 years to become parents, Samuel Thomas was placed in my arms by his birth mother. A moment I feared would never happen. And a moment that almost didn’t. I was reluctant to think adoption was an option for us. I thought I needed to experience pregnancy in order to be a ‘real’ mom. But through a very clear sign from the Lord, we learned adoption would be our route to parenthood. Our infertility and adoption journey ended up being the exact path I needed to experience who He is. He showed me what it means to have trust in His plans versus mine.
I don’t feel brave because I’m a mom via adoption or struggled through the lows of infertility. I feel brave because I took faith to the next level. I trusted that God’s plan was better than mine. I gave up on my own understanding and allowed Him in to guide me to where He needed me to be, which eventually led me to the greatest gift of my life - my son. All the struggle, all the pain, it was all worth it. And to me, that feels brave.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
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Danielle Haluska is a mother to one spunky, smart, and silly 4 year old, Samuel and married to her husband of 7 years, Tom. Danielle works for Penn State University where she oversees drug and alcohol education programs. She has a Masters degree from Liberty University in Human Services Counseling. Being part of the helping profession has always been Danielle’s motivation, so it’s no surprise that she decided she wanted to help and support others experiencing infertility after her own experience with infertility. Danielle believes that when Christ comes first in our lives, the rest will fall into place. She hopes through her writing and sharing of her story, others will be able to learn to experience the joy that can be found in Christ, even through the heartache and pain, especially that of infertility.