Today, my friend Rachelle Alspaugh is celebrating the book release of her second book in the Surviving the Valley Series, Painful Waiting, and I wanted to give her some space to celebrate with a broader audience. Rachelle and I got connected through the adoption ministry at our church. Even though Eric and I are not ready to begin our adoption journey, I am always excited to read more or learn more about other’s experiences with adoption and the incredible journey that that is. Though Painful Waiting is the second book in the series, and I haven’t read the first, I connected with Rachelle’s journey and absolutely love the message of hope that flows through this book.
“Ready. Get set. Go!”
And we took off running as if it were the race of our lives. Checklist in hand, I giggled with delight as we checked things off as quickly as possible. I couldn’t allow my children to wait on us any longer than absolutely necessary.
That “race” to adopt two children turned into one of the longest, most grueling journeys we’d ever embarked upon. Complications arose at nearly every stage, expenses surmounted, and walls seemed to block every path toward the finish line. The straight path ahead took several unexpected turns and actually led us down into a dark, lonely valley with no end in sight.
We had two options.
Either keep walking forward, one painful step at a time, or pray for the strength to climb. Walking forward still kept us stuck in the valley, while climbing up the mountain at least gave us hope to find a higher, grander purpose for our pain within that valley.
After wallowing in self-pity for some time, we chose to climb. The intense struggle up the mountain left us with countless scrapes, cuts, bruises, and scars. But by clinging to God and trusting Him to provide the strength we needed for each day, we finally made it. When we reached the top of the mountain, we could look back down over the valley to see God’s hand through it all. By His grace, we survived the valley and came out stronger. Through it, my book Unexpected Tears came to life.
Little did we know that reaching the mountaintop only represented the first half of our journey. Another dark valley loomed ahead as God took us by the hand to guide us right back down the mountain. I never could have survived the second valley without the strength I received from the first one. I penned my way through it, birthing an unexpected sequel to my first book. I wrote Painful Waiting as I lived it with no idea how it might end.
Five long years after taking off running in the race to adopt two children, I came home with a son and so much more. I also came home with a faith stronger than I ever possessed before in my lifetime, as well as a closer, more intimate relationship with Christ.
The Surviving the Valley Series contains two overall themes throughout both books—a complicated adoption journey and a deep spiritual journey. Unexpected Tears recounts our first experience through the adoption process as we grapple with shattered faith from a loss we never expected. Painful Waiting builds upon the faith and strength we gained through that experience to obediently step into an even harder and more complicated adoption process (a second attempt to adopt one of the children we lost).
Either one of my books will tug at your heart strings, challenge your faith, enlighten your mind, and open your eyes to a big God who sees a bigger picture than we can see with our human eyes. And maybe, just maybe, you will hear the voice of an orphan calling your name.
If you are interested in purchasing either of Rachelle’s books, visit www.abhbooks.com/books to purchase.
Rachelle D. Alspaugh seldom finds herself at a loss for words when she writes. She tells stories about faith, and her poetry often springs from real events in her life. Rachelle yearns to help orphans. She enjoys traveling, especially when her travels intersect with her passion for missions. In college, she went to Buenos Aires for a semester as an exchange student. She also spent two months in Mexico as a summer missionary and has taken several mission trips to Mexico since. Rachelle teaches Bilingual Education in a public school system just outside of Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two sons, along with several furry pets. She also enjoys teaching women’s Bible studies at her church. One of her favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Rachelle blogs at www.fromtheheartofrachelled.blogspot.com.