Announcing…Miracle Baby Youngren

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After 11 years of marriage, and 5 years of trying to start a family, Jeff and I are so excited to announce that we're expecting a little miracle baby in April of 2018.The journey hasn't been easy. In fact, it's been downright hard.But in the difficulties, we have also discovered priceless treasures wrapped in hope, promise, and a new kind of enduring grace. We wanted to share the journey and these treasures with all of you in the hope that it helps encourage someone else - even if it's just one person.I'm telling the whole story over the next few months over on our Instagram (follow #miraclebabyyoungren), but we will also update this post here on the blog every time there is a new installment.Hugs,Erin
Today's my 33rd birthday. I can't think of a better gift to share with the world than our little #miraclebabyyoungren - arriving April 2018.And yes, this babe is truly a miracle, five years in the making. I'll be writing the full story on Instagram of the journey we've been traveling oh-so-soon. I can't wait to share it with you! - E #miraclebabyyoungren #happybirthdayindeed

For the past four and a half years, seeing pregnancy announcements like ours yesterday on social media have carried a heavy, bittersweet load (to put it nicely). … Today, I am on one side of the river, receiving the promise. But not too many days ago, I was on the other side, longing for the promise. I was the Waiting One. The One Without. The One Who Didn’t Have. The One Who May Never Have. … When my due date arrives in April, it will be exactly five years since my first miscarriage. Five years of trying. Five years of failing. Five years of miscarriages, test results, surgery, and fertility centers. Five years of treading water in a bottomless pool of grief, disappointment, pain, emptiness, loneliness, guilt, and kicks in the gut as I watched countless pregnancies announce, grow, give birth, turn into toddlers, and start kindergarten in the time I was still waiting... … But it will also have been five years of transformation. Because at the same time that I was barely keeping my head above the water, desperately struggling against drowning in my disappointment, that same pool also filled itself with hope, promise, and joy. And I learned to recognize it and drink it in. I learned to stop kicking and struggling, and to dive down to swim in it’s depths. … I discovered a bottomless ocean of grace. … If you are reading this and you want to punch a hole in the wall because you are intimately familiar with the grief I’m referring to, I want to say this to you my dear friend: I don’t know your story, but I know some of your pain. Not all of it, because your heart and your journey is different than mine (and it was seriously irritating when people said they knew my pain. #realtalk) … But I want to tell my story here - all of it - so that you can hear it. It will be different than yours, but the same treasures of grace and hope and endurance that I have discovered in these five years are available to you, too, and I could never keep them to myself. I’m going to begin my story right in the middle - with the mountains... (More to come) - E #miraclebabyyoungren

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For the past four and a half years, seeing pregnancy announcements like ours yesterday on social media have carried a heavy, bittersweet load (to put it nicely).Today, I am on one side of the river, receiving the promise. But not too many days ago, I was on the other side, longing for the promise. I was the Waiting One. The One Without. The One Who Didn’t Have. The One Who May Never Have.When my due date arrives in April, it will be exactly five years since my first miscarriage. Five years of trying. Five years of failing. Five years of miscarriages, test results, surgery, and fertility centers. Five years of treading water in a bottomless pool of grief, disappointment, pain, emptiness, loneliness, guilt, and kicks in the gut as I watched countless pregnancies announce, grow, give birth, turn into toddlers, and start kindergarten in the time I was still waiting...But it will also have been five years of transformation. Because at the same time that I was barely keeping my head above the water, desperately struggling against drowning in my disappointment, that same pool also filled itself with hope, promise, and joy. And I learned to recognize it and drink it in. I learned to stop kicking and struggling, and to dive down to swim in it’s depths.I discovered a bottomless ocean of grace.If you are reading this and you want to punch a hole in the wall because you are intimately familiar with the grief I’m referring to, I want to say this to you my dear friend: I don’t know your story, but I know some of your pain. Not all of it, because your heart and your journey is different than mine (and it was seriously irritating when people said they knew my pain. #realtalk)But I want to tell my story here - all of it - so that you can hear it. It will be different than yours, but the same treasures of grace and hope and endurance that I have discovered in these five years are available to you, too, and I could never keep them to myself. I’m going to begin my story right in the middle - with the mountains... (More to come) - E #miraclebabyyoungren

This is me one year ago at my childhood home in Idaho. I was at the end of a year of sitting and waiting in the promise. A year that I will tell you about very soon. ... Fast forward to today, and I woke up this morning, Christmas Day 2017, and the Lord whispered the word Hope to me. Yesterday, my pastor spoke on hope, and said that Christmas is the story of our Father fulfilling and delivering on the greatest promise that He ever made to His people. A promise that they waited on for hundreds of years. ... And I wept like a baby in the service because today I’ve never felt the deliverance of hope so deeply in my bones as I do this Christmas. I am experiencing the fulfillment of the greatest promise that my Father has ever made to me, and it’s coursing through my veins with its overwhelmingly goodness. I am undone by it. ... My prayer for all of you this Christmas Day 2017 is Hope. Whatever that means for you in whatever place you find yourself today. Whether you are swimming in it like I am right now, or desperately clinging to it like I was a year ago, or have completely lost it in the darkness of this world, I pray Hope. Nothing more and certainly nothing less than just overwhelming, soul-wrenching, heart-busting Hope. -E #merrychristmas #miraclebabyyoungren

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This is me one year ago at my childhood home in Idaho. I was at the end of a year of sitting and waiting in the promise. A year that I will tell you about very soon.Fast forward to today, and I woke up this morning, Christmas Day 2017, and the Lord whispered the word Hope to me. Yesterday, my pastor spoke on hope, and said that Christmas is the story of our Father fulfilling and delivering on the greatest promise that He ever made to His people. A promise that they waited on for hundreds of years.And I wept like a baby in the service because today I’ve never felt the deliverance of hope so deeply in my bones as I do this Christmas. I am experiencing the fulfillment of the greatest promise that my Father has ever made to me, and it’s coursing through my veins with its overwhelmingly goodness. I am undone by it.My prayer for all of you this Christmas Day 2017 is Hope. Whatever that means for you in whatever place you find yourself today. Whether you are swimming in it like I am right now, or desperately clinging to it like I was a year ago, or have completely lost it in the darkness of this world, I pray Hope.Nothing more and certainly nothing less than just overwhelming, soul-wrenching, heart-busting Hope.

I am a born-and-raised Idaho girl. The Rocky Mountains are my soul’s happy place of endless joy. ... Two and a half years ago, on the week that Jeff and I found out that we couldn’t get pregnant, the Lord - in His endless ocean of grace - immediately took us to the mountains to grieve. ... We had a camping trip with our best friends that very same weekend, so 48 hours after the devastating news, I was in the clear mountain air sobbing my guts out in their arms, grieving the loss of my hope - the loss of the promise, the dream, the family, the... what felt like everything. ... The next week, we were in Montana for a wedding and we drove up to Glacier National Park, where the only thing that surpassed our gut-wrenching grief was the gut-wrenching beauty of the peaks. ... Two weeks later, we were co-leading the For the Love Retreat in the Rocky Mountains outside of Vail, Colorado. Every morning and evening, we worshipped for hours along the edge of a breathtaking lake where mountain peaks rose on every side above us and pine trees cascaded down the hillsides like a marching army of symmetrical angels. ... And it was there that the Lord gave me back my hope. ... The mountains have been a powerful force of healing for me in this journey, and rivers in particular have become central to my story. I’ll tell you all about it very soon - it happened in Glacier and on that lake in Vail. - E #miraclebabyyoungren #tyfilm

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I am a born-and-raised Idaho girl. The Rocky Mountains are my soul’s happy place of endless joy.Two and a half years ago, on the week that Jeff and I found out that we couldn’t get pregnant, the Lord - in His endless ocean of grace - immediately took us to the mountains to grieve.We had a camping trip with our best friends that very same weekend, so 48 hours after the devastating news, I was in the clear mountain air sobbing my guts out in their arms, grieving the loss of my hope - the loss of the promise, the dream, the family, the... what felt like everything.The next week, we were in Montana for a wedding and we drove up to Glacier National Park, where the only thing that surpassed our gut-wrenching grief was the gut-wrenching beauty of the peaks.Two weeks later, we were co-leading the For the Love Retreat in the Rocky Mountains outside of Vail, Colorado. Every morning and evening, we worshipped for hours along the edge of a breathtaking lake where mountain peaks rose on every side above us and pine trees cascaded down the hillsides like a marching army of symmetrical angels.And it was there that the Lord gave me back my hope.The mountains have been a powerful force of healing for me in this journey, and rivers in particular have become central to my story. I’ll tell you all about it very soon - it happened in Glacier and on that lake in Vail.

We sat on a lake at our quiet little campground drinking beers, watching the sun sink behind the Continental Divide. We were at Glacier National Park in Montana. We had just shot a wedding on a ranch, and had extended our trip to spend a week in the mountains. ... As Jeff and I sat, we watched a group of kids play in child-sized kayaks and build dams in a teeny creek of water. ... In the general store earlier that day, there had been a stack of stuffed animal moose toys that were on clearance. While Jeff was picking out our beers for the night, I picked one up, held it’s soft fur in my hands, and looked at it. Then I made myself put it back down. ... Back at the lake, I leaned my head on Jeff’s shoulder and said, “We’re going to bring our children here to Glacier one day, and we’re going to camp with them right at this same campsite along this pond. That will be the fulfillment of the promise.” ... We let quiet rivers of tears fall down our faces until the sun disappeared, and then we walked to our campsite to make ourselves pork chops over the camp fire. And cried some more. ... Three weeks earlier, we learned that I couldn’t get pregnant on my own and that we needed IVF or adoption to have kids. At that point, we’d been trying for 2.5 years to get pregnant with two miscarriages and 5 months of testing. ... Our hearts were broken, but there was healing in the mountains at Glacier. We hiked until our legs could no longer carry us. We cried until our tears dried into our pores. We cooked delicious food over a campfire every night and drank beers along the water. ... When we were leaving Glacier, I stopped in the general store one last time - and I bought the stuffed moose. ... I told Jeff that it was a gift for our nephews. He totally agreed, but we both knew I was lying. ... Ever since, the moose has sat on our dresser in our bedroom as a reminder of our promise to go back to Glacier one day. A reminder to never lose hope in the promises of the Lord. And I squeeze that little moose today, and remember how I almost lost hope in the mountains of Glacier, but the Lord gave it back to me in the mountains of Colorado. That story is next. - E #miraclebabyyoungren

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We sat on a lake at our quiet little campground drinking beers, watching the sun sink behind the Continental Divide. We were at Glacier National Park in Montana. We had just shot a wedding on a ranch, and had extended our trip to spend a week in the mountains.As Jeff and I sat, we watched a group of kids play in child-sized kayaks and build dams in a teeny creek of water.In the general store earlier that day, there had been a stack of stuffed animal moose toys that were on clearance. While Jeff was picking out our beers for the night, I picked one up, held it’s soft fur in my hands, and looked at it. Then I made myself put it back down.Back at the lake, I leaned my head on Jeff’s shoulder and said, “We’re going to bring our children here to Glacier one day, and we’re going to camp with them right at this same campsite along this pond. That will be the fulfillment of the promise.”We let quiet rivers of tears fall down our faces until the sun disappeared, and then we walked to our campsite to make ourselves pork chops over the camp fire. And cried some more.Three weeks earlier, we learned that I couldn’t get pregnant on my own and that we needed IVF or adoption to have kids. At that point, we’d been trying for 2.5 years to get pregnant with two miscarriages and 5 months of testing.Our hearts were broken, but there was healing in the mountains at Glacier. We hiked until our legs could no longer carry us. We cried until our tears dried into our pores. We cooked delicious food over a campfire every night and drank beers along the water.When we were leaving Glacier, I stopped in the general store one last time - and I bought the stuffed moose.I told Jeff that it was a gift for our nephews. He totally agreed, but we both knew I was lying.Ever since, the moose has sat on our dresser in our bedroom as a reminder of our promise to go back to Glacier one day. A reminder to never lose hope in the promises of the Lord. And I squeeze that little moose today, and remember how I almost lost hope in the mountains of Glacier, but the Lord gave it back to me in the mountains of Colorado. That story is next.

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.” (Isaiah 66:12) ... @ginnycorbett - our friend and co-leader - slipped this bible verse over to me at the beginning of the For the Love Retreat in September of 2015. She knew we had found out that we couldn’t get pregnant just a month earlier, and the Lord had given her this verse for me. ... I loved Ginny, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was confused and angry and devastated. ... For the next week, we sang worship on the main deck of a retreat center that sat on a lake in a gorgeous valley outside of Vail, Colorado. The valley was deep and mountainsides rose around us with rows of pine trees scaling upward until they reached a line of ridges in the sky - as if we were standing in the caverns of a massive earthly cathedral and choirs of angels were marching around us. ... For two days, I aired out my grievances with the Lord during worship sessions, but I wouldn’t give in to the grief. I thought if I did, I might drown in it. ... On the final morning of worship, the Lord told me to walk to the side of the deck and to look at the mountains and I remembered the verse, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.” ... “What does that mean?” I asked the Lord. “How can I feel peace in this dark valley?” ... The reply came gently, “My daughter, don’t you know? Rivers don’t flow on the mountaintops. Rivers only flow through the valleys.” ... And on that morning, I sat down on the edge of the deck, and I was undone by His river. I let myself become overcome by the grief that had built up in my gut for the past two and a half years - the longing, the miscarriages, the endless waiting, the tests, the devastating news, the empty promises - and be washed over by His waters of grace. ... In that moment, I knew that His promise that He made to us six months earlier would come true - in some manner, in some way, in some time - and that there was a long journey ahead of me before it would be fulfilled. ... All that was needed from me was to stand in the river and let His peace wash over me until the promise would be delivered. A promise I’ll tell you about next... - E #miraclebabyyoungren #tyfilm

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“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.” (Isaiah 66:12)Ginny Corbett - our friend and co-leader - slipped this bible verse over to me at the beginning of the For the Love Retreat in September of 2015. She knew we had found out that we couldn’t get pregnant just a month earlier, and the Lord had given her this verse for me.I loved Ginny, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was confused and angry and devastated.For the next week, we sang worship on the main deck of a retreat center that sat on a lake in a gorgeous valley outside of Vail, Colorado. The valley was deep and mountainsides rose around us with rows of pine trees scaling upward until they reached a line of ridges in the sky - as if we were standing in the caverns of a massive earthly cathedral and choirs of angels were marching around us.For two days, I aired out my grievances with the Lord during worship sessions, but I wouldn’t give in to the grief. I thought if I did, I might drown in it.On the final morning of worship, the Lord told me to walk to the side of the deck and to look at the mountains and I remembered the verse, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.”“What does that mean?” I asked the Lord. “How can I feel peace in this dark valley?”The reply came gently, “My daughter, don’t you know? Rivers don’t flow on the mountaintops. Rivers only flow through the valleys.”And on that morning, I sat down on the edge of the deck, and I was undone by His river. I let myself become overcome by the grief that had built up in my gut for the past two and a half years - the longing, the miscarriages, the endless waiting, the tests, the devastating news, the empty promises - and be washed over by His waters of grace.In that moment, I knew that His promise that He made to us six months earlier would come true - in some manner, in some way, in some time - and that there was a long journey ahead of me before it would be fulfilled.All that was needed from me was to stand in the river and let His peace wash over me until the promise would be delivered. A promise I’ll tell you about next..

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Hi there! We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren, a hubby and wifey wedding photography team in San Diego. We shoot together. We travel together. We dream together. And we believe the best thing to hold onto in life is each other (+ a great glass of wine…)

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