Friday, July 11, 2008

Barren

I watched an old Oprah tonight about a woman facing her 4th year of infertility--and it hit me much harder than I thought it would. As this precious guest, Jenna, was talking about how she felt using words like bruised, ashamed, disappointed and frustrated I just wanted to hug her and say, "I know." It brought all the tears I shed and desperate prayers I prayed right back to the surface.

At one point Jenna said she feels so ashamed because 'having babies is what a woman is supposed to be able to do--it is the one function a woman's body is designed to do that a man's is not.' I can remember saying that exact thing. I felt like I owed my husband, especially, a huge apology. He was never anything short of supportive, but I felt terrible that he had unknowingly married a reproductive lemon.

I remember well-intentioned, kind people making ill-informed statements that were supposed to make me feel better--but wound up making me feel more alone and misunderstood. No one could 'fix' me except God and He was choosing not to intervene in the way I desperately wanted Him to.

I rarely talk about my infertility because I am not a wallower. I don't advocate living in the past. I like to move on. I do, however, think it is necessary to periodically revisit the places where God has delivered you from, if for no other reason than to fully appreciate the gifts we have been given. God eventually answered my prayer for offspring--and He answered it abundantly. This family that exhausts me and pushes me to my limits is nothing short of a God-given miracle.

But what if He hadn't answered me the way I wanted? God does not answer every prayer specifically as requested like some sort of Divine short order cook. I must be careful to not equate His goodness with how large my bank account of blessings is (or isn't). He is who He is. He does what He does and He is the same God in times of plenty and in times of want.

I am in the middle of reading Job in my quiet times. It is a poignant reminder of God's ability to give lavish gifts and allow times of pain and agony in our lives. Do we understand His methods or His purposes? Not always.

All I know is that the fire He has brought me through so far has been for His glory and my refinement...and tonight that is enough for me.

13 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I have so many friends who are struggling with infertility and I never know what to say to them. Your words remind me that God wants the best for each of them. I pray everyday that that means lots of babies for each of them.

Liesl said...

Great post! Ditto, ditto, ditto your thoughts. This was one of the reasons I was drawn to your blog. I am also infertile and the experience did leave scars. But as you said, those scars are what remind me of how grateful I am to have our children that we adopted. And those scars make those of us who struggled like you and me perhaps more aware of the blessings children really are and also more sensitive to those we meet who are now walking in our old shoes. One of my friends is struggling now and I can really feel her pain and personally know the things to say or not to say. May God heal our hearts but never allow us to forget...

Julie said...

I've been following your blog for awhile (can't remember how I stumbled across it) and I love it! Some days your posts are what puts me in the Word that day. Thank you for that.

Ditto to everything you said. No matter the scars I carry with me from infertility, I wouldn't trade them. And I never want to forget where I have come from.
Thank you for being honest.
Julie

Sullins' Spot said...

Such an awesome testimony and something I really needed to read and hear this week! Thanks for sharing!

Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady") said...

We lost one of our twins at birth almost 26 years ago and I know what you mean about refined by the fire. We can never predict where the paths we are set upon will lead us but if we have faith that God is the director and always seek His guidance, we will be safely landed when we reach our destination.

Sarah was also seemingly barren, in old age, when God fulfilled his promise. How much more should we have faith in His providence.

ACC-mom said...

Thanks for a great post! I struggled with infertility for three years and now have triplets. Sometimes it is important to be reminded about the past because it SURE does make me appreciate my present (crazy) life.

Patricia said...

As someone who is still in these often sad and lonely trenches, I truly get what you're saying.

No matter how many blogs I read (which help) or how many times I say the same things to my best friend (who listens, no matter what) I still feel so very alone in all of this.

It is clear that God alone is getting me through this, as with all things. I'm trying to discern His will for me in all of this, and that's so hard for me!

And so I trust and I pray and I give it to Him. And then I fret and I wonder and I steal some of it back to mull over and then I start the process all over again. Ugh.

Amy-neighbor said...

I was not prepared to read this kind of blog today, only b/c I was recalling our conversation about the "biting" incident and was hopping on to see what "funny" exchanges were made between your crew, only to find myself jolted into my own similar struggle...

I never have equated or phrased my journey of thru my 8 pregnancies as infertility but I guess in one sense they are or were - I lost 5 babies in 4 years - one of which was 19 weeks. Through His mercy, grace, and over abundance in Faithfulness - He has blessed me with 3 boys. Your words were strong, powerful, and brought me back into the moment, and just what I needed to hear once again today - of all days. I don't like to go back either, but it is a refreshing reminder sometimes to see where God has brought us and what He brought us through.
Thank you for your transparency and encouragement!

Lindsey said...

I don't know you, but I have been reading your blog for a while now. I found you through Katie P's blog. I feel like i have learned so much from you through your writing! I am about to be a new mom and have learned so much about mothering from you.
I am particularly thankful for your transparency in this post. While I have not personally had to deal with infertility, several friends whom i love deeply have had to and are still walking through this. I'm learning how to love and encourage them in this battle and really appreciate your wisdom here.
I have recently started a blog in an effort to try and keep our family and friends updated as our little family is growing. I hope you don't mind, but I have linked to your blog because I love reading it so much!
So, thanks from a stranger! Your life is really encouraging to me!

Room for Grace said...

I've been there too. When you are in it, you feel like the pain of it will last forever.
I loved how you said this:
"I must be careful to not equate His goodness with how large my bank account of blessings is (or isn't)."
This is so easy to do and ends up misrepresenting God I think. I've been listening to the Steven Curtis Chapman song today, "God is God, and I am not, I can only see a part of the picture He's painting..."
The refiner's fire is where our faith is built, but man, it's hot and uncomfortable.

Jessica said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have one son, but I have been suffering from infertility due to PCOS for the past 18 months. It is something new to me and something I didn't totally consider as an option. The feelings are new for me and slightly different. I feel selfish for wanting just one more. I know I have been blessed with my son, but I never considered I would only have one child. It's still so hard.

Trey and Cheri said...

I came across your blog a few weeks ago and have been blessed by your posts. I too am dealing with infertility due to PCOS. While I pray for a biological child, I am also trying to prepare myself for God's answer which may not be what I want. Thank you for sharing your story.

dmarie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my "Jenna" post. Perhaps one day I will be able to look back at this terrible time and see the lesson. However, while still in the ugly trenches, it's much harder to find the light.