Finding Beauty in Holland

Today’s guest post is from fellow “Quester” Lisa King. Lisa is married with two beautiful children and I know you’ll love reading her story. What a story it is!

“When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.


After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”


“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”


But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.


The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.


So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.


But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”


And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.


But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.”
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley

What’s in a number?

37. It’s just a number, right? We all have “numbers” in our lives. An age. A date.

So what’s so significant about 37?

Well, when you are talking to a preemie mom, everything. Thirty-seven weeks into a pregnancy equals term. Or “Italy.” Even though 37 is really an arbitrary number decided upon by the World Health Organization, it still represents a victory over prematurity.

So, when I embarked on my journey of my 4th pregnancy, only my second to make it past 12 weeks, I had this goal in mind as my “first” goal. The one I would be “ok” with if I made it to. The one that would signify that I made it. I didn’t fail this time. But it was never a foregone conclusion that I would make it.

In fact, it was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve done. In many ways, ignorance is bliss. And knowing what I did about all of the problems in pregnancy meant I was hyper-sensitive to every sensation I experienced. Every contraction. Every pain. Every odd twinge was noticed, analyzed and either discarded or brought to my doctors attention.

That is no way to go through a pregnancy. It’s incredibly scary and nerve wracking.

And it took waking up daily, standing with my head held high, my shoulders back and the knowledge that whatever that day brought, God would help me through it.

There was no other way to get through 37 weeks of pregnancy.

A friend posted this status on Facebook recently and it rang very true:

‎~Fear of failure and fear of the unknown are always defeated by faith. Having faith in yourself, in the process of change, and in the new direction that change sets will reveal your own inner core of steel~

The question is…what is your inner core of steel? Mine? It’s God. Because, even though the things I’ve seen were not near as bad as they could have been, they had the power to break me. In my journey as a preemie mom, I’ve seen these things break many a strong woman.

Entering into another pregnancy meant I had to take a leap of faith. I didn’t know the outcome. I couldn’t ensure 37 weeks. I could only trust God that He also had this one in His hands and He would see that the baby came when the baby was ready. And that if that was significantly pre-term again, He would get me through that journey again.

Thankfully, I got my 37. I’ve been to Italy. And I thank God for letting me see both Holland and Italy. For without Holland, I don’t know that Italy would be as beautiful and unique. And without Italy, Holland would never shine as the beautiful place it also is.


Is Lisa great or what?? Now you see what I meant when I said, “What a story it is!”.

Have you been in search of Italy, but taken a detour to Holland, instead? Find the beauty, the significance, and the hope that lies in Holland. Find the all-encompassing peace that lies in God’s love for us. Even the most extreme detours are held in His hand. If He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.


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