This is National Infertility Awareness Week, so I’ve been seeing lots of posts the last few days about the heartaches that accompany the diagnosis of infertility.
They are abundant and overwhelming at times for sure, but for all the suffering my heart, soul, and body have experienced over the last several years, I don’t want that to be the entirety of my story.
It’s definitely a part of my story, and it’s a part that I won’t hide in shame anymore. After suffering in solitude behind closed doors for almost 5 years, I finally decided 3 years ago to break my silence in hopes that my story is able to help someone else.
Think about the number of couples in the average church, and imagine 1 out of every 8 were suffering from infertility while watching the other 7 have weddings, showers, babies, and children’s birthday parties.
That seems like a high percentage, but that’s the statistic.
We never know what battles someone with a smile on their face may be facing.
During my dark days, I functioned well enough to get through the day and social obligations, but when no one was around, I cried all. the. time. My heart was so incredibly broken and the hurt and pain seemed unbearable, yet it wouldn’t go away. I’d cry myself to sleep and wake up with a wet pillow because I’d been crying in my sleep. I didn’t even know you could do that! Concealer was my best friend during those years.
During that time, I couldn’t see the purpose, I couldn’t see past my own pain, let alone see the end, and I couldn’t be thankful. Not for this.
There were times when I definitely felt the presence of God with me and times He would lift the load just a little so I could catch my breath, but He wasn’t fixing it.
I was so focused on wanting Him to fix it that I couldn’t see that through breaking me, He was fixing me. Though He was crushing me into powder, He was going to put me back together so that I looked more like Him.
He still hasn’t fixed my body so it can have children, but He’s fixed so much more than that.
I often think of Paul in the New Testament referring to his “thorn in the flesh” and how He repeatedly asked God to remove it. The answer Paul received is the same answer I’ve heard over and over:
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
That’s not the expected answer. I know God’s grace is sufficient for all of your problems, and I can make a mental acknowledgement that He is also sufficient for my problems…but I don’t want to have it proven.
Thankfully, I am not God. He knows infinitely better than I do.
Had He “fixed” me like I wanted Him to, I would have missed out on so much. Had He “fixed” me, I wouldn’t be able to finish that verse with Paul:
“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Don’t get me wrong. I still want children, and I still have times when I weep over their absence, but as incredible as it sounds, if given the opportunity, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I never thought I’d be able to say that, but God has a way of changing our outlook. It has something to do with the breaking and rebuilding process. He would never put us through the pain of crushing us only to build us back exactly the same.
I sometimes say that I had so many rough edges to knock off, He just completely shattered me and started over. 🙂 I’m kidding when I say that, but it feels like the truth. I am not the same person I used to be. Jesus said He would make all things new, and though I know He is still working on me, He has made me new as well.
I used to read Psalm 139, come across the verse that declares us as being fearfully and wonderfully made, and actually think that didn’t apply to me. Of course, I would never admit out loud that I thought God had made a mistake, but by being convinced that my body was broken, that’s exactly what I was doing.
It was a good day when I realized that while my body doesn’t work like most women’s bodies, that doesn’t mean I was a slip up or God made a mistake. He doesn’t do that. He created me exactly the way He wanted me because He had lessons to teach me that would make me fall deeper in love with Him and cause my stubborn and independent self to rely fully and completely on Jesus.
Today, I’m thankful for my brokenness.
The Lord knew exactly what I needed, and this was it. I can lift my hands and worship the One who has always done what’s best for me, because even though that often brings pain and heartache, it doesn’t stay that way.
Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.”
This is what I want my story to be.
Not a monolog on pain and suffering, but a story of grace and redemption and a God who doeth all things well.
I can stand in a room full of other women with children in their arms, lift my hands in worship, and say that we are fearfully and wonderfully made…even me.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
~ Psalm 139:14