Fertility Bridge: Flipping the Script is On Us

Whenever I get included in anything infertility and loss awareness wise there are three parts of my brain that fire:

  1. Ego – Duh, my story needs to be a part of this.

  2. Shame – Who do you think you are? You shouldn’t even be included, no one wants to hear or is ready for your story and message.

  3. Gratitude – Thank you so much for including me and remembering my scary story is more common than people think or want to admit.

My name is Justine Froelker, and I am the infertility advocate whose story scares the bejeezus out of most in our community.

A recap:

We tried IVF due to my history of back surgeries and body casts in high school.

We lost three babies.

The money was gone.

Our hearts were broken.

We stopped treatments before we got the babies.

We are not choosing adoption.

We are accepting a childless not by choice, or as I like to call it, a childfull, life.

I am a forever grieving mother who chooses to do the work to see the gifts in everything.

I am happy and sad…you can watch my TEDx talk on that.

I am happier than I ever was before failed IVF because I choose every day to honor my three, and myself, in the work of happy. I realized the infertility journey had left me a shell of who I once was without the ability to ever go back to her, or even the desire to go back to her. I have fought for, created, and received this incredible life, a life that didn’t turn out how I hoped, dreamed or planned.

Infertility is not who I am. A woman without her children here on earth is not who I am.

Continue reading over at Fertility Bridge here.

The Extra of the Infertility Journey

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The friendships. A wholehearted truth. Renewed dreams. My reclaimed life.

Just a few of the extras of my infertility journey, none of the above a consolation prize of my hard story and three lost babies, rather gifts that I have fought for, created, and received.

My friendship with Kaeleigh, of Unpregnant Chicken, is one of those extras. Last week my friend, who I only met through the community of infertility and loss and this big awesome world of blogging and social media, released her first book. I am so excited to support her by being a part of this amazing blog tour and offering a giveaway! To be entered to win your own copy of Extra! simply comment on this post. I will draw a winner on February 15th, 2018. I am so proud of this project and it's offer to families who need a little extra to find their way to their version of the complete family portrait.

Make sure to follow along on this blog tour and check out Christine's post from Friday and Victoria's which is coming tomorrow!

He'll Do It Again

I’ve seen You move… You move the mountains. And I believe… I’ll see You do it again.

You made a way… where there was no way. And I believe… I’ll see You do it again.

I’ve been listening to this song over and over. I usually end up in tears as it amps up with this chorus.

We often hear how we need to ask God to move our mountains and we must also tell the mountains in our lives how big our God is.

He made a way, when there was no way for me in many ways throughout my lifetime. The biggest though was just over three years ago when I began the mighty faith wrestle into His waiting arms.

A wrestle that was only the result of the gift of my three. The old me would say it was when He took my three away. I suppose it is only a difference of semantics, and many could say both are true.

Five years later, I choose them as gift.

It was only in the darkness of grief and loss that I found the light, His and mine. He made a way for me to Him, when there was no way. Three lost babies and accepting life without children…only God can create such a mess. Five years out of our failed infertility journey I can say it has all been a beautiful mess – a true gift.

Because I am a daughter of the King, He loves me, I trust Him, and so I trust it.

Does it still hurt like hell? Yep.

This is the permission of The And, and it allows me to feel that sadness and the trust all at once, because therein lies my healing.

Friday my The Permission of The And TEDx talk officially hit the TEDx YouTube channel with over 9,000,000 subscribers.

And thus, comes another mountain.

Since the publication of Ever Upward, almost three years ago, the constant mountains in my life seem to be book sales, video view counts, and shares and likes. Now that both of my TEDx talks have posted, it seems like I have another gigantic mountain in front of me, to get enough YouTube views and likes to be featured on the TED website.

Except it finally feels different.

I want this bad, more views and likes means more people reached. More people reached means braver people living in this world and rewriting their stories of shame.

This is my purpose on earth – the mother He made.

But I no longer want it more than my own well-being and happiness. I no longer believe that the success of my work, paid or otherwise, has anything to do with my worthiness. I am putting it down at the foot of the cross once and for all.

I am enough and He’s got this.

No more hustling, no more begging. I will continue to do my part – creating life changing content, loving well, teaching those who are ready to receive, and finally having fun while doing it.

My belief is that it will grow.

How big? Only He knows that part.

And finally, I am going to let that be enough.

~~~

You are enough too. If you are ready to begin the work to believe this, I’d love for you to grab your brave and come do this work with me. Whether it is through my Therapy Thursday videos on Facebook or joining my Rising Ever Upward Video Course or attending a workshop or intensive, choose you, do this work, and rewrite your story.

The Heartbeat of 9 Million

The email was short and sweet,

It’s here!

Followed by the link.

A link to one of my dreams come true, the hardest work of my life, and a story of my sacred truth all there for an audience of over 9,000,000.

Whoa!

My hands shook and my heart pounded so hard and loud I could feel it pulsating throughout my whole body.

Fear and trust, excitement and surrender.

The And.

As I sent the link to everyone I know and refreshed the YouTube channel my pounding heart skipped a beat as I saw my other TEDx go live right before my eyes.

Two TEDx talks, both live, to over 9,000,000 in less than three hours.

Holy shit!

A squeal and a jump followed by an immediate hitting of my knees in gratitude and asking for protection, I felt washed over with a sense of knowing and unknowing all at once.

The And.

Here you go world, my two TEDx talks (The Permission of The And and The Donut Effect). Watch, share, give brave feedback, and share again. And, most of all, thank you.

 
 

The Moon of Fair and Prayer

I’ve had this post in my head and heart now for almost two weeks. I’ve sat down to work on it no less than 20 times in those weeks. Let’s call it the endless to do list of building my wholehearted empire, denial, grief, or fleeting creativity, it has not been penned until just now.

In which, I completely trust, this is when the words will be gifted to me.

It all started on a drive home two Sunday nights ago after a great dinner with some of our chosen family. Dinner conversation with three of my favorite boys about the movie Wonder, who their best friends are (I made the cut for Evan, that boy knows his audience), and then too much yelling and laughter about which girls they all like.

“Look at the moon,” I said to Chad as we were driving home much too late for a Sunday evening.

“Whoa,” he said with a catch of awe in his voice.

“Have you ever seen it like that before? The half on the bottom and not the side?”

“No. Kind of weird.”

“And, beautiful,” I reply.

We spend the rest of the drive in silence with worship music playing – grief and God wrestling in my head and heart.

My day had started with church, where as usual, I cried during worship, mostly tears from undone-ness in gratitude. Then, after weeks off due to tour and TEDx, I served in the 3rd to 5th grade room, where I ran the 3rd grade boys small group. The verse for the week was, 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:18

We began by discussing the worst things that could happen at home, school, and their sports or school activities . Most of their answers centered around peeing or pooping their pants or barfing, because… boys. Then we got to the tough part, how to still be grateful even when you’ve shit your pants at school.

Their answers of gratitude were so refreshing. Nothing from comparison or scarcity like so many of us adults do. Just true gratitude of what good could come from pooping your pants at school – like a new pair of pants and getting to talk to the really nice nurse.

Gratitude even in the shit.

It’s the holidays.

It’s no secret I struggle with the holidays.

Last year we only put up a tree. I managed to string lights on it, and still couldn’t bear ornaments because… grief.

They’d be five this Christmas.

How much fun would that be?

Chad asked if we could decorate just a little more this year and said we could go get a new tree of my choice if that could help. We settled on a small pencil tree, pre-lit and with ornaments already attached.

Because, that is where I’m at this year, and it’s progress.

And, I only cried in Menards once.

That weird half moon, with the half somewhere it didn’t really seem to fit and yet it shined brilliantly for all the world to see, felt like looking at me that night. Most days, especially during the holidays, I feel like that moon, never fitting in, a little off, and still brilliantly shining.

The moon is always a reminder of God’s grace for me, as are the sunsets, sunrises, basically anything nature.

But that night was different, maybe it was the song playing on the radio, saying something to the effect that it is all for God’s glory…even the hard, dark parts, even the shit I suppose.

When you don’t get to parent your children here on earth and grief is a part of your daily life, the holidays are hard for obvious reasons. It also really makes you wish that people would remember what Christmas is really about.

There is also another reason it is difficult though.

There are a ton of adorable pregnancy and birth announcements, and lots of them say what a miracle it is and how God answered prayers. Not much unlike the miraculous conceptions of Jesus and John, because sometimes even the Advent reading plans can be tough.

I love seeing the joy of my loved ones’ families growing. And, the enemy will never miss a chance to have that small voice torture me.

You didn’t pray hard enough.
You don’t deserve to be a mom.
You weren’t faithful enough.
You’re being punished.
It’s not fucking fair.

Here’s the thing, I know better now.

This is not about fair, or really prayer, for that matter.

Sure, God hears our every prayer. Hell, our prayers can even change His mind I think. At the end of the day, though, I don’t get to say which prayers of mine He answers. And, I for sure, don’t get to say how He answers them.

Now to the toughest part, because all you have to do is read the news to get a sense of how unfair it can feel that Chad and I don’t get to be parents in the traditional sense of the word and a bunch, like a freaking bunch, get to. Bottom line, fair or unfair, that shit is above my pay grade. I doubt I will ever get the answer as to why I don’t get any and why someone else I have deemed undeserving gets four. I know my clarity and full healing is waiting for me when I get to meet Jesus face to face one day.

In the meantime, I praise God for giving His only Son for us. I know in Him, because of Him, and through Him I am whole, loved, okay, and a message of grace for this world.

As I have wrestled with so much of the new teachings that have been brought into my life and reading more and more scripture, and wading through the glittered difficulty of the holidays, I was brought back to the moon just this past Sunday, a week after the ‘little off’ half moon.

I remembered just before bed that I had to go see the Super Moon. In my pajamas and socks, I ran out to the driveway to see the moon, something I actually do on a pretty regular basis. At first, the big, bright full super moon was behind a veil of thin clouds. Even veiled a bit, it still reflected it’s shining glory onto everything.

With a deep breath, I prayed,

Lord, Help me to lay it down for good this time, I don’t want this anymore. I know it was, and is, fair. Because you are good and I am your loved daughter. My sadness and grief can coexist with my trust in your fairness, because when I live in the permission of The And, I honor you, me, and them. It is all for Your glory, and you love me so much, it is also for mine.

And then, the clouds floated over the moon to reveal a perfect opening for all His glory to shine in and on.

My story is hard and it is beautiful. It is my message of grace and I will never stop loving it, trusting it, and speaking it.

It has nothing to do with fair.

It is the story He has written for me and for Him.

And, graciously, it has given birth to me.

~~~

Exciting adventures: My new newsletter is short, sweet, and full of great content, make sure to sign up here. I have a new prayer plan over at Reflective Prayer, use coupon code JustinePrayer for 15% off! And finally, my Rising Ever Upward for Network Marketers video course is now available!

I'm Still Here, Just Different

It has been a minute since I posted, about two months actually. Are you still here?

I am.

How are you?

I'm different...

I've spent the last two months traveling around the country offering my Rising Ever Upward workshops and intensives. Oh the stories I have...but you'll have to wait for that book to come out! I've met some incredible people, grown this tribe, visited super cool cities, and eaten my fair share of amazing food! I believe in this work more than ever and am honored to continue to offer it and live it.

I wanted to stop by with a few updates:

  1.  I booked a TEDx talk!!! Actually 2! I am speaking at TEDxDearborn October 13th and TEDxLaSierraUniversity November 10th. I will let you know if these events will be livestreamed, and of course, share once they have made the TED website!
  2. More workshops and intensives are coming soon! Make sure to check here for future dates.
  3. My next book, The Complicated Gray, is in final edits as we speak! And, I am in development for the next one too!
  4. This fall I am launching a 3 part video series based on my workshops and intensives for network marketers.

Now for the different... I have done a lot of work and growth this year, especially in changing my relationship with my pain. This has enabled me to reach more people and build what is slowly but surely becoming an empire. While my team (I have a team guys, small and mighty, yay!) and I get our barrings, especially in figuring out what this looks like starting first with a one stop, all inclusive new website, I'd love to share a series I have started on my Facebook page called #TherapyThursdaywithJustine (TT). Each week we will post a new TT video for you here. If you don't want to miss them live each Thursday, make sure to like and follow at www.facebook.com/justinebfroelker.

Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for the continued support, love, and prayers. There are really big and exciting things coming, and I can't wait to share them with my community here.

For now, here was a bonus TT (for FREE,  accountant Chad always likes to add) I did this week about judgment...

 
 

A Workshop and Dream

Tomorrow kicks off my Rising Ever Upward Tour, and there are not enough emotional words to type to accurately describe how I am feeling. Thank God I have this work to help me navigate it all.

Tonight I am offering a FREE workshop as I wrap up my 7 week Mini-Course, I'd love for you to join me. I'll be sharing a glimpse into what this work is all about and much more. You can read more about it here.

 
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I feel a lot of writing coming from me while on tour, some for the next book of course, and some for you all here. Thank you for your patience as I enter into this new stage of my career. I cannot thank this community enough.

Another Round

Sitting on my orange couch flanked by all three of our dogs, I giggle to myself as Cassandra, my coach, continues on, "How did that turn out?" Unbeknownst to her, her face has been frozen for the last 5 minutes of our conversation; and yet her question, both powerful and one she already knows the answer to, hits me to the core.

"It didn't work out how I wanted," I reply with just the slightest annoyance in my voice.

"And, how did that turn out?" she asks.

"I created and have received this incredible and fucking beautiful life," I state back with a clarity and a knowing, though a catch of my voice and the tears in my eyes reveal my truth that this life has not come without years of loss, work, and trust.

It was just a minute before, on our call, that I had come to realize that the risk I am taking in going out on tour, offering my workshops and intensives, is not much unlike the risk we took 6 years ago in doing IVF.

Financial sacrifice?

Check.

Paralyzing fear?

Check.

Doubt, our own and that of many, many others?

Check.

Hope?

Check. Why else would we sign up for it?

So much the same, and so much, so very different.

Going through the infertility journey six years ago, I was a completely different person.

Back then, who I was with the addition of financial stress, waiting games, synthetic hormones, and no babies was the perfect storm for the deepest darkest crash of my entire life. I was, in many ways, living my life from the place of shame, scarcity, comparison, and with my weaknesses in total control.

The darkness left behind by our infertility journey that ended without kids, was the ashes from which I needed to rise.

And now, to leap into another unknown.

I needed to choose myself, to do the work, and to rise into this incredible person I am and into this incredible  life I have now.

I am preparing to leave for tour in less than two weeks, which means the talons of PTSD clutch every organ in my chest and stomach often, as if we are doing another round of IVF. This PTSD triggers overwhelming fear that could easily take over every thought and my entire body if I let it.

I find my breath stolen from me in a second, without so much as a trigger - the fear, doubt, anxiety, shame, and comparison charging up my physiological response to emotion in my pounding heart and shortness of breath.

Yet, I stop myself.

It's different now.

It has only been with this work, the work I am fighting so hard to bring to my community on tour, that I recognize the symptoms and then refuse to attach to the drama. It is in this choice that I give myself the permission to rumble with what is really going on. It is through this rumble with my shame shit that I choose to cope, to be always rewriting my story, and standing in my sacred truth.

With this work, and my team and community rallying and surrounding me, those PTSD talons are no match for this person and life I have created, fought for, and done the work to receive these last few years.

Most of all, it is no match for my level of faith. Sure, I am quite possibly the literal poster child for when things don't turn out how you hoped, dreamed, and planned. But...

I am also the flawed, full-of-grit-and-grace badass who rises from those ashes a better person, one who loves harder and shines brighter. It is within this hard that I help others and with that light that I am able to see how beautiful of a life I have been given.

I go into this unknown from a place of self-love, passion, and a burning desire to heal the world.

I eventually took a picture of Cassandra and sent it to her on Messenger. We both laughed and we ended our session in our usual way: of her palpable excitement for what is and what is to come, my complicated gray of excitement and fear, and both of our's full knowing that whatever is to come of this incredible work we are doing together, we are both certain that it far exceeds our wildest dreams.

I don't know what God's plan is for this tour. Just like I didn't know what God's plan was for our three.

 
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I know it will be filled with people who are ready to heal and courageous enough to do this work with me. I know it will change their lives, my life, and therefore, the world. I know that no matter if every registration is booked, and no matter how much money made or lost, that it will be God-willed, God-filled, and amazing.

Because unlike the 30% odds of the "successful" outcome with an infertility journey, my odds are 100% when it comes to who I have become, the work I am willing to do on a daily basis, God's grace, and my badassery rising.

Called

I am just a couple of weeks out from the kick off of my Rising Ever Upward tour. The registrations are starting to fill my inbox.

People are sending messages.

They are engaging with my Mini-Course and Facebook Lives.

In fact, 22 people took advantage of a last minute pop up class last night for FREE (a $200 value).

A couple of them even registered to come do this work with me in a city near them.

Clarity took root last night for me... I am doing this. I am supposed to be doing this.

And, I am super excited and oh so grateful.

Make sure you have subscribed to my subscriber list, as we still have 2 weeks left of exclusive content coming, along with following along at Facebook.

And, have no doubt, I have a HUGE and AMAZING close planned for this 7 week Mini-Course!

Thank you for your support!

 
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