the rest of our storysemi-sweet morsels

Just a heads up, this is a really long one. We invite you to grab a cup of coffee and spend a little time with us today as we humbly dive in to the most honest and vulnerable we’ve ever been.

Oh how I wish that my purpose in sharing today was good news. I would be eager to get the words down, rather than sitting here struggling to find the courage to move forward.

I really don’t know how long ago it was when I first mentioned to Kelly that I believed God was laying it on my heart to share the rest of our story. (To which he fully agreed.) I do know that I’ve spent way too long dreading this day, hoping there was a chance I could forgo this calling. That perhaps I could put it off long enough that we would be in a different situation by the time I got around to sharing.

Yet here we are, and it seems my stubbornness hasn’t changed His plan. If you read the why we blog last week, then you’ve already started taking this journey with us and know the primary reason that we are choosing to share our story at this stage is because of our desire for God to be glorified through it. If that doesn’t make sense to you, all I can say is that my life (including our marriage) is not about my happiness – which could only ever be temporary. It’s about serving a permanent Savior by laying down my life and following Him.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done, so thankfully He also provided me with a couple additional truths as encouragement to share. 1) There may be someone else out there who can relate to our incomplete story. Someone who needs to hear what we’re going through right now rather than a story in hindsight. 2) Our desire to serve marriages runs deep. When we only partially reveal our hearts, the gaps sooner or later become obvious and a lot of us is lost in translation. Knowing where we’ve been, and where we’re at, may be the only way you can fully appreciate where it is we’re working to be.

Which leads me to the rest of the story. (Or at least the beginning of the rest of the story.)

We often talk about the fact that I grew up with a love for photography. Before I had a clue what I was doing, I’d make an imaginary lens with my hand or tote Mom’s point and shoot around the farm. Looking at the world as a potential image is more than something I do. It’s who I am. If I could never hold a camera again, I’d still see the abundance of beauty all around us through the eyes of a photographer.

Yet if you went back and asked young Melonie what she wanted to be when she grew up, I’m pretty sure she’d say a mom. I may have occasionally held a camera in my hands, but it was an almost constant that I had a baby doll in my arms.

You can’t imagine how delighted I was when I met and fell in love with Kelly, and he shared my desire for a family and even longed to support my dream of staying home with the kids one day. At 20 and 21 years old when we got married, we were excited to spend a few years enjoying our lives as newlyweds, followed by pursuing the dream of a growing family. I don’t know if anyone ever feels completely “ready” to be parents, but a few months after our nephew was born, we had the discussion.

We have three nephews now, so to be clear the infant that sparked the “we’re ready” conversation turned 9 last October. That means we’ve spent just a year shy of a decade questioning when it would be our turn – if it would ever be our turn. For anyone wondering… yes, it’s been the most excruciating thing we’ve ever been through. There hasn’t been a moment of wondering that has been even close to easy.

A lot of people are open to talking about similar struggles, but I should mention that with the exception of a few very close friends, we’ve never talked about this before. Not even with our families until very recently. We just didn’t want the questions, the judgement, or the constant curiosity at “how things were going”. Besides, anyone who has faced this type of difficulty can understand and appreciate the very private nature and that ultimately, it’s humiliating.

We aren’t past those hesitations. I think the natural human reaction to hearing something like that is questioning everything. What’s wrong? What have they all tried? Well maybe if they just… Believe me, we understand those questions and the curious desire for scientific answers is a strong one. The knowledge that we hope you’ll cling to is simply “because His timing and purposes are greater than our own.” While that isn’t easy for us to accept every day, only God knows when and if we will ever be parents. And we’ve spent the past several years learning trying to be OK with that.

There is so much more about this journey that you will begin to hear from us. We will (try to) be open to discussion if and when the opportunities present themselves, and will gladly welcome your love, understanding, support and encouragement – just as we hope to offer the same to others. Yet we ask that you respect us and our marriage enough to resist the urge to use our struggles to fulfill your gossip quota. We hope you’ll also understand that although we are talking about it, we really aren’t seeking out advice in what we “should be doing”.

<<Enter deep sigh of relief for getting all of that out here.>>

So, now that that’s out in the open, you’re probably wondering what’s next. A little bit, so are we. This is pretty much just an act of obedience, and although we feel God has a bigger plan, we haven’t been clued in to what that means just yet. I can say that while I hope to be honest about the emotional challenges we face, our primary intent in how we will talk about this story is to shed light on our hearts and what our marriage has been through. For example, when I talk about the reality that life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan, you’ll know where I’m coming from. From time to time, we will share portions of this journey, but by no means do we anticipate that will become the only thing we write about. After all, it is just one small facet of our marriage.

This has been a wordy entry (even more so than usual), so I will leave you with that for now. For those of you who are still with us, thank you so much for hanging in and taking the time to learn about this personal aspect of our lives. We are humbled to know there is a purpose in our story outside of these walls, and it is an honor to have you by our side. As we weep, perhaps you’ll weep with us. And when He graciously pours out blessings, we invite you to join us in songs of praise.

much love,

the elle in love, the rest of our story about marriage and family

PS.  We completely understand that this is the kind of post that may leave you at a loss for words. Or perhaps you’ve figured as much and aren’t sure what the big deal is. That’s OK. We aren’t hoping for any specific reaction.

PPS.  You should know that this was written over a week ago. We specifically scheduled this post for when we are able to be side by side the entire day and distracted from checking up on whether or not this is being read. As I mentioned, this is about obedience – not strength. In fact, we will wait to look at responses until next week. That being said, if you’d like, we invite you to connect with us and let us know you’re here. That comment section below is a great place to start, or you can send us a personal message here. In the meantime, we also have another post in which we dive a little more into where we are currently at in this journey.

  • Joy said:

    Love you guys. I hate that you have to struggle with this. I did think that, bc of what an obvious nurturer you are, and Kelly's sweetness, that you probably both desire children, but I never wanted to bring up something that might be sensitive no matter how much I hoped to know you more in this way. Thank you for sharing even though it can't be easy. I'll pray for you in this, promise never to gossip, but most of all to hope with you guys! Love to you across the miles!

  • Danielle said:

    I love you guys and you're in my prayers. Your heart is beautiful and your obedience to God's call is inspiring.

    • mel said:

      Thank you, Danielle! That means a lot. Hugs!

  • As & your writing blow me away!! Such a bold & brave thing to say and so many couples aren't comfortable with being open about such a difficult thing, so thank you for sharing, as so many will find this as encouragement! Love you guys and always in our prayers!

    • mel said:

      Thank you so much, Chasnie!! We are so thankful for your friendship and your encouragement means a lot.

  • Lila said:

    I understand this experience you shared through my own similar journey to parenthood. That is all. I understand.

  • Janelle said:

    I will commit to specifically pray that His blessings will reveal themselves to you this week while you wait to read responses.

    • mel said:

      We certainly felt the prayers this past week. Thank you so much, Janelle!

  • Judy said:

    My hugs and prayers for you both. May God richly bless you for your obedience and willingness too be used by Him.

    • mel said:

      The hugs and prayers are felt and much needed. Thank you, Judy!

  • Janice said:

    Many people will appreciate your willingness to share, hopefully giving them the feeling that they are not alone. You are a good writer.

    • mel said:

      Aww, thank you Janice! We are so grateful for the encouragement.

  • ***Insert extended hug here*** You have no idea how glad I am to be considered a friend of yours. You continue to inspire me in marriage, life, WRITING, spiritual matters, photography and in all-around honesty. Thank you for being a bright light I can always look to for encouragement, inspiration and friendship. Thank you for opening up your heart and life so vulnerably—your willingness to share surely brings God glory and inspires people you may never know about. I had to fight the urge to text you my response while you're on vacay—haha! Hope you're both having a blast! Can't wait to read your next post (and every one after that). Can't wait to video chat again soon.

    • mel said:

      Amber, your love and friendship means so much to us. These words are exactly what I needed today as even in knowing we were being told to open up, the questions still tend to creep in. Thank you!!