I have had the incredible blessing of women pouring their stories into my life. I love stories. I love hearing how God is moving in the body of Christ – manifesting His blessings in other’s lives. Grant and I prayerfully decided that we should tell our fertility story – while we’re still in the middle of it – with the hopes of blessing and encouraging others. You can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and a quick post on Mother’s Day, as well as the most recent update IVF – or read the whole series here.
Two quick things about fertility:
1. It’s not really talked about. I remember the first year or so it was so painful to talk about. Then, the raw emotions would just spill out all over the place – even if it was a good day; even if I wasn’t sad. But for the past few years it’s been good to talk about it. In fact, God has paired me up with a couple of mentors who’ve gone through the same thing (can you believe that? He is so good). So now that I can, it’s because it’s so hard for many of us to talk about it that I feel compelled to do so.
2. When it is talked about, it tends to be after the miracle birth story, successful IVF cycle, or happy adoption. Several friends who’ve walked this hard path did so in silent isolation. I remember thinking, “The body of Christ has been robbed of an opportunity to do what we do: love, support, come alongside, pray, cry, grieve, lift up, encourage, laugh, cry some more, comfort, etc.” So here I am – all flawed and flailing around – right in the heart of it – willing to talk, pray, get honest, and add our story to the many others that have blessed and encouraged us.
I want God to receive all the glory for our story just the way He’s written it.
For those of you who’ve read this and written me: I appreciate your vulnerability. It’s such a beautiful thing. I never never never set out for this to be part of my ministry. Yet, He continues to bring people into my life sharing this same issue to pray for and do life with. It’s beautiful how He brings us together. Be encouraged: we can do hard things together (phil 4:13).
Part 4 is really the quintessential post on my fertility journey. I’ve included it below.
In the Summer of 2012, I was asked to write a post in a series on fertility on a friend’s blog. Here’s an excerpt.
It’s difficult to describe the pain, the waiting, the hoping, and the devastating let-down – it’s not something easily understood until it’s personal – the depth of that despair, doubting, and questioning: why? There’s a verse that explains, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” Proverbs 13:12a.
I was heart sick.
I wallowed for a long while. But after a conversation with a friend here in London I realized that I was asking the wrong question. I turned from asking why? and asked instead what’s the purpose in this season of waiting?
I have learned that there is so much purpose in this season.
Is this season of waiting for you, so that I may encourage you through this blog?
Is this season of waiting for others, to come alongside and encourage and be in the trenches with friends, knees to the earth, faces to heaven, crying and laughing and praying and dancing, fasting and waiting and hoping and thanking, come what may?
Is it for the body of Christ, to break and mend my heart in a thousand ways that leads to a more open, compassionate, gracious, and patient life as I relate to my brothers and sisters in ministry?
Is it for the benefit of my future family? Biological or adopted children? To teach me to cherish life as a family of two?
Is it for the benefit of my future child, to wait for the perfect time to meet her future husband, to be released into his ministry, or to prepare each of them with childhood friends who create memories and build character and share life with?
Because, all of those reasons are worth the wait. There is hope, there can be joy, and there is a peace that surpasses all understanding – no matter the circumstances.
“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.”
What you do with the time you are given matters. How you choose to orient your heart in the midst of dire circumstances can make all the difference for you. The only way through is to keep praising Him for the good and for the seemingly not so good (Job 1:21). It’s all about perspective.
I highly recommend One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp which is totally unrelated to fertility. It is a book everyone should read and has been an absolute game-changer for me, in terms of seeing circumstances and life from a better perspective.
I believe there is more purpose in this season than I may ever know this side of eternity – and I’m ok with that (Deut 29:29). I thank God that in His infinite wisdom He is able to orchestrate all the details – especially the ones I cannot even yet fathom. With all that this is teaching me, teaching us, producing in our marriage and in the lives of others as we tell our story and give Him praise – what has been of more benefit to me than a heart changed by surrendering – myself, my will, my plans, my prayers or our future, expectations, hopes, fears, and dreams – to God?
Think what I would have been robbed of, were it not for this season.
This season has carried with it its own blessings and favor. Viewing it as a gift of life’s most precious commodity – time – has opened the floodgates of heaven for His tender mercies and loving kindness to flow down in great measure. It’s all part of the process. For now, Grant and I are hyper-aware that the life of adventure and travel and complete freedom with the entire world at our doorstep is such a blessing. I have believed this waiting is a gift of time – a changing of seasons – since the beginning.
“Jesus said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons
that the Father has fixed by His own authority.’”
The crucial part of my fertility story is I am still in the midst of my season of waiting with no blessing expanding my womb or filling my arms. I am still not pregnant.
The truth is: I may never be pregnant.
But I know this much is true: God is still God. And God is still good. This season is not a mistake. I have learned and re-learned that God is enough. A dear friend of mine dealing with the same thing wrote, “God doesn’t promise us children. He promises us Himself.” Amen. You know that expression, The things of this world will either make you bitter or better? Well, I choose (and it is a choice) to allow God in my current circumstances to make me better.
“The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” – One Thousand Gifts
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
His love endures forever.”