Each one of us has a story. We’re living those stories today. Some of us are on the mountaintop, celebrating and praising God for what He’s done. Some of us are in the valley, fighting for each breath, unable to see through
the clouds. But many of us are making the great climb. We wake up each morning, lace up our boots, and take the next step.

My story is no different. We wanted a family, but our climb looked different than others. Because of my health, conceiving and carrying a child was not possible. Instead of quitting, we chose a different path up—the path of

We followed the steps and waited for the call. The first call came—a baby girl! We met her, named her, and loved her. Emma Grace was ours and we were hers. And we celebrated. We’d made it to our first summit. A few days into our celebration we got another call. Only this one wasn’t planned. This call was to tell us that the birth mom had changed her mind.

We were devastated and heartbroken. It was as if everything we’d prayed for was stripped away and we were left at the beginning. But, because we believed our story wasn’t finished, we continued.

Over the next couple of years, we got two more calls. A son and then a daughter. We were back up and our hearts were beginning to heal. Days after our daughter was born, another storm hit; I had had a stroke and was in the hospital fighting for my life. My kidneys had failed and the fight back to health would be a long one. While this wasn’t how we thought our story would look, it was the chapter we were in, so we fought.

We were again in the valley—a place we’d been before. A place that had once felt impossible to climb out of, but we’d done it and we knew we could do it again. Nine months later, I received a kidney from my mom and my health was back on track. And so were we.

A few years later, we got another call. A friend told us about a little girl in the foster system who needed a family. She was on oxygen and had many health complications. We asked God, “Are we supposed to be a part of her story?” and after much prayer we knew. We loved her and we brought her home, but we did not name her. She already had a name: Emma. The same name we gave a little girl six years earlier. It was as if the Lord had redeemed a part of our story, and our family felt complete.

But our story wasn’t done.

Twelve years after we got that first call, and 16 years after our wedding, after tests and specialists told us what my body was incapable of, we were indeed pregnant. The impossible had been made possible. At the age of 40 I gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

So often we think we are the ones writing our stories. We make plans and decide how we think things should go only to find that we do not hold the pen. A greater author has written our stories—He was with us on the mountaintops and holding us in the valleys. And it’s only after we’ve experienced both that we are able to look back and see the Lord at work even in the midst of our tragedy.

After battling through loss, fear, and uncertainty, I’ve learned it’s the messy parts of our stories that hold the greatest gifts. It’s the plot twists and the surprise endings where we experience an unwavering God. And it’s because of those parts of our stories that we are able to continue. We can wake up each morning, lace up our boots, and make the climb because we know: we’ve been here before, we are not alone, and we will make it back out.

My story looks like many others. There has been both adventure and tragedy. We’ve felt the sun on our faces as we’ve reached the top and we have experienced the pain in the shadows. But what I know is that our stories need to be told. In Luke 8:39 Jesus said, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”

Jesus wants us to tell our stories—victories and defeats alike. Our stories have the ability to connect and the ability to heal. Through our stories we reveal what God has done and see how He works, even in the midst of storms.