MEET WiH LEADERS l Real People. Real Life. Real Hope | Kelly Laning

Over the next few months, Waiting in Hope (WiH) is thrilled to introduce some of our favorite people, our local leaders.

These women. Are the real deal. they have been in your shoes. they are your people, your girlfriend who understands those tears. Our circle. our community that formed within Waiting in Hope and its' local groups is like nothing else I've ever experienced. #infertility is a powerful bond that forever connects us in a club we don't choose. But as leaders we've begun to see the "unexpected blessings" formed from this community and friendships built amongst deep pain and trial.

Real People. Real Life. Real Hope. This is exactly why we are so excited for you to get to know these women.

Please follow @klan35 over on Instagram & Facebook all day - Sunday, Jan. 22nd and meet her in person Monday, Jan 23rd at the Awareness Event & Launch, all are welcome.

Kelly Laning, Central Houston Local Leader

Infertile: a hard-to-hear label that can quickly change lives; that word changed ours. Nearly three years ago I was diagnosed as “infertile” because of my “non-traditional case of PCOS” and our world and dream of having a family suddenly changed.

Treatment began; we tried the pills, shots, IUI’s, and getting several “second” opinions. There was a lot of waiting, and each time more disappointment. Finally, last May, we pulled out the big guns, IVF, and like most people, we had a rollercoaster of a ride. When they retrieved 29 eggs we were thrilled, but after genetic testing, I received a voicemail from the nurse that said only ONE was healthy and ready to implant. WHAT? ONE? I thought at that time the biggest fear in IVF was TWINS! But now, just one embryo? Our dream of a big family continued to slip away.

We decided to hit our knees. Our families joined us in constant prayer over that precious embryo, Azaliah, a prayer name we gave her meaning “set aside by God”. A few weeks later, we were over the moon to find out with a blood pregnancy test that our sweet baby girl had implanted. After two sonograms, the Dr. congratulated us on “graduating” from the infertility clinic and told us that our chances of anything happening to this pregnancy were less than 3%! You heard me, LESS than 3%, so you can imagine our shock 9.5 weeks later when the doctor couldn’t find Azaliah’s heartbeat.

Again we fell to our knees, but this time we were mad. We cried out to God, but felt like there was no real answer. I started writing off my newly pregnant friends, tossing baby shower invites in the trash without even looking at them, and walking around bitter. The daily trudge through that grief was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced, as JJ and I started to consider other ways of forming a family, or even – hard swallow – maybe not having kids at all.

As we begged God to answer our question of “Why?” I was introduced to the Waiting in Hope group and some amazing women encouraged me to change this question to “for what purpose?”

I watched these women at WiH group meetings and heard their stories, and wow, they’d been through the same pain! I was fascinated by the way they continued to love and trust the Lord. I was blown away! I wanted that: that peace, that faith, that hope!

A friend on staff at my church proposed that I help her look into starting a support group like Waiting in Hope at our church. I immediately got excited, but was also hesitant when she mentioned that the group would have to be approved by our church, receive a budget and get a place on the schedule. It sounded like a lot had to happen before this would be real. But no more than a WEEK went by when she told me everything was set up, ready to go, and all I needed to do was say yes.

And there it was. A chance to physically and emotionally harness this pain. An answer. Not only did it feel amazing to give this pain a purpose, but I realized this would glorify God as well! Wow, now that’s a good plan. I definitely wouldn’t have thought of that.

And after saying yes to Him and to the wonderful ladies at Waiting in Hope, we received an even more shocking surprise. A positive pregnancy test.

NOW, before you stop reading because you think this is just going to be another “I got what I wanted in life, so God is good” declaration, I pray that you hear it’s really a “I just walked through the worst season of my life and I KNOW God is good, because he walked every awful second with me.”

I hear people often saying they’re “blessed” when they receive good things, but I recently heard the actual definition of blessed is “being with or close to God”. He sustained us through the darkest valley we’ve experienced yet, and we were so blessed because He was there with us each moment, even when we couldn't possibly understand the “why”.

I realize now my circumstances didn’t change what He’d already done for us. I see now He’s the only thing that can truly satisfy and the only one who can make remarkable beauty from mere ashes. And now, He’s given the pain a purpose.

January 23 would have been Azaliah’s due date, but instead the Waiting in Hope Central Houston group will be born that day. And on June 23, which just happens to be the day we found out we lost Azaliah, we’ve been told we’ll be welcoming a new love into the world. Coincidental? I don’t think so.

I’m ready to let go of those labels, because neither “infertility patient” nor “pregnant lady” are accurate. I’m a child of God and so are you.

There are people here to talk about this painful thing that so many of us experience. Message us or come see us at the launch night of Waiting in Hope Central Houston on Monday, Jan. 23, 6:30pm at First Presbyterian Church. 

You are not alone and this pain will not overcome you.

Click here for link to the event details. 

Thank you, Kelly Laning for sharing your story, and saying Yes to lead a local WiH group. Even in your Whys and waiting God was always working. We look forward to what the legacy of Azaliah’s will do in and for other women.

-Waiting in HOPE- MEET WiH LEADERS l Real People. Real Life. Real Hope | Kelly Laning