I’ve pondered how to write on this topic for a while. Mainly, because it is so personal to me, but also because it’s a sensitive topic that usually has a string of emotions behind it. I don’t want to speak for anyone else who is going through a similar situation; I only want to bring Hope as I share about my personal journey.
What I’ve noticed is the majority of stories you hear are shared after the season of waiting has ended and very few are shared in the mist of it. Through our journey, I have found the best medicine for me personally, besides prayer, is talking about it. It allows me an opportunity to make sense of how I am truly feeling. I realized very early on as I opened up about this topic to other women, that I was not alone. In fact, I have been blown away by the amount of couples going through the same situation or something similar.
In December 2013 Mack and I took a trip to Hawaii with some of our awesome friends. They are not just great friends but also incredible parents. We decided, with a little encouragement from them, it was time to start a family. We went into it not quite sure we were ready but also excited and open to see what happened. You are taught your whole life sex leads to pregnancy, so I had an expectation of how quickly this process would be for us. A few months in I started to wonder why nothing was happening. Around month 6 the emotions and fear started to creep in. By 12 months we began to see a doctor, only to find out there is no explanation why we can’t become pregnant. By the 18th month I labeled myself for the first time as struggling with infertility.
Andy Stanley said it best “happiness is about a ‘who’ not a ‘what.’ If you are a couple struggling with infertility you understand that no matter what you own, what you drive, where you live, what you wear, or vacation, if you are trying to bring another ‘who’ into your life it is hard to a maintain a level of happiness as you are struggling with infertility.” We are designed and created in a way that our ultimate fulfillment is tided to some ‘who’s’ and not ‘what’s.’” This can also be applied to anyone who is currently in the season of singleness. (From the series “What Makes You Happy)
So where do we go from here?
Happiness is about being content. You cannot have happiness without contentment. Since Mack and I aren’t in control of adding a “who” to our lives, our contentment must be controlled by our thoughts. I read this quote, which I repeat to myself often, “Our thoughts, not our circumstances determine our contentment.”
“…Keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable” Philippians 4:8
I have become aware that to maintain a level of happiness it is imperative that I start each day focused on what is going right in my life.
Here are my top three things on my list:
- God has strengthened our marriage. I thank God often that this journey has brought Mack and I closer instead of letting it drive a wedge between us. (Warning, I am about to get sappy) Mack is truly a gift. His constant positivity and daily laughter he brings to my life has given me so much strength. I would be a complete mess without his love and support.
- My prayer life has been changed. Since no doctor can explain to me why I am in this situation I can only rely on the power of prayer.
- The greatest gift God has given us through this season is our incredible friends and family. They have stood beside Mack and I, praying endlessly, loving us and even crying with me.
My dear friend shared a word that God placed on her heart for me, “HOPE.” (Which happens to be my middle name) For Christmas last year her and her husband gifted us with a beautiful sign that now hangs in my keeping room and shines bright with the words H.O.P.E. It is a reminder everyday to never give up believing that God will answer our prayers.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22.
I experienced Hope in a beautiful way this summer. During our mission trip to Costa Rica I had the opportunity to have a one on one with one of the students on our trip. I shared with her our struggle. When I finished, she began sharing with me her own parents’ story and struggle with infertility; she was their miracle baby. I have met many women on my side but never the child on the other end. She is a beautiful girl who has an incredible heart. We are now friends who share a special bond. The most impactful part of it all was at the end of our trip when she asked me to be her mentor. If I had been focused on everything not going right I would have missed out on this special opportunity and friendship.
Earlier this year after having a surgical procedure done, to see if it could shine some light on the infertility, a precious friend came over to cook Mack and I dinner. In the middle of eating she began to cry. She cares so much for me that while I hurt she is hurting too. It made me realize, if my earthly friend hurts this much for me, how much is my Heavenly Father hurting for me?
If you are reading this and are currently going through a tough season, I want you to know you are precious and loved. Whether you are struggling with infertility, miscarriage(s), the lost of a child, or even feeling overwhelmed by having a baby, God is with each of us. Every story is slightly different in its own set of details but each story is also difficult. I have had many days where I have wept my eyes out begging God to answer our prayers. I don’t begin to try and understand why things happen the way they do. I just keep coming back to the fact that He loves me and he is not done writing my story.
I love this excerpt from Jesus Calling, it has changed the way I pray from, “Lord, help me to become pregnant to, Lord, thank you for the baby I will one day have.”
“When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me. Speak to Me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers that I have set into motion long before you can discern results. When your requests come to mind again, continue to thank Me for the answers that are on the way. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind-set becomes much more positive. Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promises.”
As I end I want to leave you with a little something that I do whenever I am feeling down. I like to sing this song by Passion called “My Heart is Yours.” I replace the word “heart” throughout the song with the word “baby.” Try listening to this song (you can find it on spotify) and replace “heart” with something specific you are praying for, then in the stillness ask God to reveal himself to you.