Be A Beautiful Snowflake

Did you know that no two snowflakes are the same? God, in his infinite wisdom created each individual snowflake with its own signature that compound to fill the beautiful snow that we get to experience here in the North Country. We finally experienced our first decent snowstorm and it’s so soothing for me to watch. It really had me thinking God’s amazing design for this Earth and for us.

God doesn’t make mistakes. And He didn’t make a mistake with me or you either.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well.” ~ Psalm 139:14

I’ve always been somewhat of a people pleaser and i’ve always been so hurt when people don’t like me or approve of me, but over the years I’ve learned the hard lesson of being myself no matter what. Deep down I’ve often wondered what my parents would think, what friends and family will talk about behind my back, or how people will judge me for certain things that I do.

That’s certainly not fun and it’s no way to spend your life. Becoming a Mom myself changed so many things about me (as it should). I often reflect on how I’m living and examine it through their eyes. Am I demonstrating behavior that I want them to replicate and showing them a healthy way of living? I love my children for who they are and who God has destined them to be, not who I picture they’ll be. But I never want them to constantly stress about what others think so I need to be the example.

If you live trying to please others or change for who you’re dating, what your parents want (As an adult), what a “friend” wants then the world is missing out on someone truly amazing! You’re never going to be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay!

Most people hate the cold and the snow, but we LOVE it. A lot of people hate tattoos, and we love them. I’m sure people disagree with aspects of our parenting, my political beliefs, my sports teams, etc. In the words of Rachel Hollis in Girl, Wash Your Face, “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business!”

If people sit and listen to gossip about you (especially without defending you), those are not your people. If they hate the core of who you are, they are not your people. If they don’t care whether or not they miss out on important events in your life or if the relationship is always one-sided, they are not your people. If they don’t care about hurting you, not your people either. Surround yourself with those who love the raw, real you no matter what!

Now, I’m not one of those who believes that if it’s not harming others then it’s okay. As a Christian the Bible is my guide. My spiritual leadership aids in this. And, as a wife, my husband is my other half and I submit to Him as the leader of our household.

Life is too short. And the world deserves ME. Not a filtered chameleon.

My Calling

In April, I worked my last day of my career in national security/government contracting to fulfill my dream of focusing on my husband and my kids.  Long before we were married, Ryan and I discussed our joint desire to be able to reach a point of financial security to allow me to stay home with our future children.  Being a military family comes with many challenges and I wanted to be as present as possible in our children’s lives.  While I commend dual military families and those with multiple careers (seriously, that’s tough work to balance it all!), I always knew it wasn’t for me.

Often, reality can feel different from our dreams.  Since that time i’ve struggled to find my identity beyond being a wife and a mother.  We often find our self-worth within our career or chosen profession, and all of my dreams have or are coming true.  But was this enough?  Society often pushes us to “want more” for ourselves and that we should strive to have it all: the husband, the kids, the top of a corporation…and the white picket fence.  Was it okay to “just” be a wife and a mom?  Could I REALLY be the driving force behind my family?

What if it’s OKAY that my role IS to be a military spouse and a mom?  What if that is my calling and my “mission field”?  I know that God is using me to encourage and lift up/support my husband as he serves our Country.  I know that God is using me to be engaged in our children’s lives and to set the example.  And I know that He is going to use me to pour back into the lives of other military spouses and families.  How will my mindset change and what more can I do if I transform my thoughts into THIS being my calling?  God has called my heart since I was a young girl and wanted to marry a soldier and to stay in the only life I ever knew.

What if it’s OKAY that my role IS to be a military spouse and a mom?

I’ve recently joined a book discussion group with a friend that started it in her home and we are diving into the book “Wife of a Soldier, a Journey of Faith” and today I had the great pleasure of meeting the author.  It’s been speaking to my heart and I highly recommend reading it, no matter your situation as a military spouse.  Diana Jeurgens describes how God has called each of us to this role for a reason.  It’s no mistake that I grew up wanting this life, that I married Ryan, that these kids were given to us to raise.

This military life can be exciting and stressful, lonely and friendly…it’s all in how we view it.  I know that i’ll still be human and have my moments that I hate the separations, deployments, and LATE duty nights…but oh, what a wonderful life this can be as well!

I’m not sure what the distant future holds for our family, but i’m so excited to serve God where He’s placed me for this season.  My husband has a very difficult role to play and I know that God has called me to be his supporter and to take care of our life on the home front.   I’m anxious to arrive at our next duty station in New York and I already feel led to a few areas of opportunity!

Melissa G.

Confession Time

I’ve always wanted to be a twin mom.  I had the most wonderful expectations of the type of Mom that I would be and I was determined to meet every single one.  Pretty sure we’ve all been there and just smile and nod when we hear others make the same mistakes.  Then I actually became a mom…and a twin mom at that.  Guys, being a mom (or a parent in general) is a lot tougher than it looks!

It’s no secret that we prayed for Logan & Emma and went through our own struggles before God gave us our dream.  It took 3 failed rounds of  fertility treatment, 1 successful IVF cycle, many tears and heartache, thousands of $$, feeling like failures, judgments and negative remarks from family and friends, doubts about ourselves and our future and too many moments to mention.  But, looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.  We wouldn’t have Logan & Emma and our 4 babies waiting for us if we’d gotten pregnant any other way.  I wouldn’t be eternally grateful in the way that I am and know what a true miracle the gift of life is.

However, our struggles didn’t end when we had our babies like I thought they would.  I truly believed that going through so much heartache and infertility would make every moment absolutely perfect.  I thought that I’d be so grateful that I would never have to deal with anything like postpartum depression…I was wrong.  I wrestled with it for months because I didn’t want to believe that it was something else that I and my body failed at.  It wasn’t until Ryan called my doctor and kept the kids that I finally admitted that something was wrong.  Breastfeeding twins what felt like nonstop, hundreds of doctors appointments, working 20-25 hours a week from home, a spec ops husband that was gone 14+ hours a day and living off of ZERO sleep for months on end can take a toll.  I never wanted to admit that I wasn’t super mom, but guys, I should have admitted it a lot sooner for the benefit of me, the kids and my poor saint of a husband!  Our home has been much happier and life has continued to improve.

I’m also learning to listen to my body (and my husband).  As of the end of March I’ll be a full time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom)!!!!  I’m wicked excited and I truly feel that this is the best move for our family.  With a husband in flight school and two VERY active toddlers who want and need my attention, i’ll feel much better about everything.  This has always been my dream and has been the ultimate goal, but I always felt that I should be contributing financially.  But, taking care of kids IS a full time job and they need me more than my money.  (My Boston Terrier, Yawkey, is curled up with me agreeing) 😉

I’m admitting to all of this because it’s also been an insecurity for me.  We’ve been told by family members (and via hearing gossip repeated) that I “couldn’t handle” working and my kids…that I “Couldn’t take care of her own kids”…and that I “wasn’t meant to be a Mom” because of our struggles.  Well, I’ve been working at all of the above for over 19 months and kickin butt, if I do say so myself.  I did all of this while battling postpartum depression ZERO help from family that all seemed to disappear after the babies were born.  I was also so jealous of the people I saw on social media (a very, very dangerous thing to get sucked into) who had family and friends visiting, helping out with their kids or just giving them adults to talk to.  It forced me to lean on God and my husband.  Our “Team Grim” did it and we’re stronger than ever!!  Not everyone has a “tribe”, but I’m okay with that now.

We all have our struggles, our insecurities, our imperfections…but we all need to be a little more lenient with ourselves!  I guess I’m just here to admit that I have my own and I’m still here living to tell about it.  My kids still give me 1000 hugs and kisses a day and my husband still wants to come home to me every night so I must be doing something right!

~ Imperfect Melissa



Twins are a Blessing

It took us almost 2 years since we started on the journey to have children, 10 months of seeing our favorite RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist), 3 failed rounds of superovulation and our successful IVF treatment cycle, and now 29 weeks since all of our embryos were created and we brought home these two sweet babies in Mommy.  One heck of an incredible journey so far (and still nowhere near as long as some of our friends)!

As terrified as we both were to begin IVF and knew that it was our last hope that we had of our dreams ever coming true, we prayed endlessly that God would keep His hands on us and all of our babies.  The whole process ended up being the most beautiful journey and I look back on all of the good and the bad with such fondness, because it created our sweet miracles!

Before we ever began fertility treatments, we knew that twins were a possibility and that we would transfer both of our embryos to have the best chance of conception.  (Although, with super-ovulation or any other non-IVF treatment it should be much lower as a doctor should be monitoring VERY closely to prevent too many as it can be dangerous, hence why OB/GYN’s should not be handling infertility, but I digress).  We know that life begins at the moment of conception, so before we began IVF we prayed that God would allow us to keep both of our babies.  We knew we wouldn’t be able to handle losing one of them.

*On a side note, i’ve always wanted twins.  When I was a little girl I had twin dolls that I carried everywhere and told everyone that one day I was going to be a twin mommy.  Of course, my family and some of my little friends thought I was crazy even back then and everyone has always told me they’re “too much work”.  In typical Melissa fashion, i’ve always gone against the grain and proved everyone wrong. 🙂  I believe God was just preparing my heart for this role he had for me.*

After all of that, it saddens and literally hurts me to hear the negative comments that people make regarding parenting and pregnancies, and especially twins.  Since we’ve gotten pregnant, we’ve heard “I HATED being pregnant”, “Better you than me”, and “OMG, you guys are crazy for wanting more than one”, and the worst: “You’re having TWINS?!  Keep that away from me…I don’t want to catch it!”  And they REALLY get shocked to find out that we’re not done having kids (Lord willing).  “Oh, you’ll change your mind once they get here.”  I’ve even had a couple of friends get pregnant with twins after making some of those comments, and I hope that God turns their hearts.  If people only had a tiny clue as to what we went through to be here they would rejoice with us.  These babies of ours are the biggest miracle that we prayed for endlessly!  We spent thousands of dollars to have them and it took 20 negative cycles, 3 failed rounds of treatments, endless tests and one miraculous IVF/ICSI cycle to conceive them.  Babies are such an amazing blessing and twins are so magical!

Maybe people just don’t see unless you’ve suffered through miscarriages and/or years of infertility.  Struggles often make you respect things much more and see things more clearly.  We don’t take a single moment for granted and all of the little milestones in pregnancy we celebrate even more!  We never had the “freakout” moment that most do with twins, because they were an answer to our prayers!  Yes, I even prayed for the nausea, stretch marks, and pain so why wouldn’t I rejoice that i’m able to experience it all?!  It’s so difficult to know the struggles we endured and the many more that some of our friends have and to see people taking it all for granted after being handed miracles.

Don’t get me wrong, we have people who are truly happy for us and our growing family, but I really wish people would think before making comments.  Those are our babies, our precious miracles that we prayed for endlessly that you’re talking bad about.  Not a day goes by that we don’t continue to pray for their health and safety or thank God for giving them to us to raise.  It’s a responsibility and a privilege that we never take lightly.  Do we have rose colored glasses on and think that it’s going to be easy?  Absolutely not.  It’s going to be a lot of work and it’s surely going to teach us a lot more about ourselves and our marriage, but it’s a “job” that we are anxiously awaiting!



God is in the Fire

Once again, we had an amazing church service this morning at Latechurch where I felt like God was speaking directly to us.  After a very rough morning and news of what feels like our millionth failed month and first failed round of fertility treatments, I desperately needed some time with God to get my mind right.  I wanted to share some of the key points from today to remember later and in case anyone else needed this as badly as we did.

“So many times in our lives we say we want to feel God.  But we don’t want to feel pain.”

Wow!  That one hit home.  How many times do we pray to God for things and tell Him we want to be more like Him and to draw closer to Him, but then we don’t want any of the growing pains?  I know I am definitely guilty.  We pray, but we only want God’s answer to go one way: our way.  We doubt God.  We get angry when we suffer especially when it seems some people have it so easy.

God doesn’t always deliver you from the fire…at least not in the way you expect.”

It’s so very hard when you’re going through something so painful or trying in your life to not wonder “Why?”.  Why is God allowing this to happen?  It’s hard to not blame God or be angry at Him when you see so many people abuse or take for granted their ability to have children when you would give anything for that blessing at least once.  However, when we’re asking all of these “Why’s”, we should really be asking “Where?”.  When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the furnace they knew that God was with them.  Either He would deliver them or they’d be in Heaven with Him…no matter the outcome they were ready for what God would have for them.  It’s in the fire that God reveals Himself to us the most. My mom has always said that it’s okay to pray and beg God for what we want.  He never tires from hearing from His children and He encourages it!  But we have to be willing to accept whatever answer He gives us.  That’s the hard part.  There is nothing that I desire more than to be a mommy.  I want a baby that is part me and part my beloved husband.  I want to experience all of the joys and even the pain that comes with carrying a life inside me and giving birth.  I want to raise children and share all of our adventures with them as we watch them grow and experience the world around them.  The idea that we may never get our dream of having our own children or worse…none at all is gut wrenching.  How do you get to the point where you can accept that?  When we say “Your will be done”, do we really mean it?

Fire Does Two Things:

  1. It destroys or consumes.
  2. It refines

My prayer is that God teaches us the lesson that He wants us to learn from this battle with infertility.  We were never promised that this life would be easy; in fact, we were promised the exact opposite.  I know that God is in the fire with us and will never leave us…not once.  I know that the rejoicing will be 1 million times more amazing and special to us after we’ve gone through the hardest trial of our lives to get there.  There has not been a single day of my marriage with Ryan that I have not thanked God for creating him and bringing Him into my life after so many years of prayers and loneliness.  I have not once taken him for granted.  I know that it will be the same way with our children if it be His will to give us our dream.  As difficult as it is, I’m going to stop praying for the fire to end and start praying for the fire to refine me.

“BELOVED, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”  1 Peter 4:12-13


God is faithful

I often get myself in trouble by being too open with how I feel, but sharing helps me to process emotions and situations better. Also, being the true believer in counseling and an aspiring counselor myself, I believe that knowing others going through similar situations can sometimes help.

Our home church here in Savannah recently completed a sermon series on being “Satisfied”. In the lesson that will always stand out in my mind we discussed being content with what we’re given and not comparing ourselves to others in order to have happiness. As do most of our lessons, this one really hit home for me. It is so easy in this life to compare ourselves to others and to always want more money, better health, a better job, a better duty station, kids (or easier time getting pregnant), etc. In fact, there is almost always something that we can pray for to make our lives better.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve literally begged God for some life-threatening situations in the past few years. And you know what? He’s come through: Every Single Time! We’ve had some medical scares in our family and God has kept everyone in His hands and worked it out for His good. We also had what seemed to be another hopeless situation with our family that we sometimes doubted ever improving. Sitting in that very church with family members that we were scared would never be in our lives the way we desired was proof that God is faithful! I’m so very thankful for every situation that He has turned around for the better.

Even with knowing all that God has brought us through it can be so difficult to depend on Him and believe that things are going to work out. Our greatest desire has been to grow our family and we hoped that this would be a quick answer to our prayers. Selfish as it may be, it’s painful to see people all around you announcing births or pregnancies, especially the “surprise” ones. It seems as though we can’t open up a social media site without seeing another announcement. It’s easy to sit back and wonder “What did I do wrong?” or “Are we being punished?”. I’m not sure if they’re happening more now or if we just happen to be noticing them more (more than likely the latter), but while you are happy for the growing family you can’t help but wonder, “Why not us?” Adding salt to the wound, we are much older than most childless couples on the enlisted side of the Army and we often get lots of questions. People assume we are 10 years younger than we are because we got married later in life and people tend to be excited/curious for you to add children to the family. I know that compared to some friends and family who tried for years and/or underwent multiple rounds of fertility treatments, we have little right to be upset. My heart goes out to each of them. I don’t think I could have ever imagined how painful this road can be and we are only at the beginning. It’s a daily struggle to remember to stay positive and focus on one step at a time when there is baby stuff/pregnant women everywhere.

Our prayer now is that God will give us the desires of our heart and help us through the ups and downs in the meantime. We know that His timing is best, but the human side has a hard time remembering that when there are painful triggers everywhere.

I was always taught that God ALWAYS answers prayers…but it’s not always yes. It’s scary to think that this may not be just a “not right now”, but a no. However, we are believing that He will grow our family in the best way that He sees fit and in His timing. Until then, the job is working on being “content” with the life that He has given us and all of our many blessings. I am so blessed to have an amazing partner in all of this. Ryan is the strongest, most patient, attentive and loving man I have EVER known. While painful, what should be testing our marriage has only brought us closer and taught us to depend on each other and God more than ever.

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” – Romans 4:18

“He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD!” – Psalm 113:9

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11