“When you hold your baby, you’ll understand why God had you wait.”
“It will all be worth it, I promise.”
“I prayed that if I wasn’t to be a mom then God would take away my desire to be a mother. In the months that followed, God multiplied those desires.”
“I prayed that if I wasn’t to be a mom then God would take away my desire to be a mother and he did. He gave me a new desire; one that is in line with my spirit even more. I have never been so joyful and content in my life as I am now.”
“These years of waiting are preparing you and growing you in ways that will bear fruits of blessings in your years as a mother.”
“God’s got this, trust him.”
All these things have been said to me over my seven years of infertility. These words of advice were different from the well-worn “just relax and it will happen” or “once you adopt you’ll get pregnant” words of advice. They were different because of who they came from. These words of advice came from women who waited too; women who waited 4 years, 5 years, 8 years, 12 years, even 15 years for their precious children; women who miraculously became pregnant; women who adopted; women who found their miracle in IVF, women who found their calling in their career instead of motherhood; you name it! And God didn’t just provide an answer to prayer for these women, he showed off! God went all out and blew their minds with his amazing plans for them. (Don’t worry, if you don’t struggle with infertility that’s ok, God will use something else to blow your mind…just wait…because well, the waiting is part of it!)
When I heard these words of advice I knew they were genuine, because every single woman told me their amazing story of how they found joy in God’s plan for them. I knew these women understood my pain because every single one of them cried when I expressed how I felt. Every single one said, “I remember that feeling.” Every single one became a kindred spirit, but they also became my cheerleaders. These were the women who would encourage my broken heart to keep hoping. These were the women who were living proof that God is faithful. These were the women that reminded me, “it doesn’t hurt forever, but you have to be willing to go to those scary places with Him.” And these women were everywhere; some were friends, some were friends of friends, some were church family, some were blood family, some were counselors, and one was even my Physical Therapist!
I tell you this because I want to encourage you to start talking about your struggle. You are not the first person to struggle with this. Whatever it is, there are others out there too; others who get it. Not everyone gets it, and a lot of people think they have the answers (they don’t), but there are those out there who know who the answers come from (and it’s not them). Go out searching for them! Start talking, because the journey is so much better when you have a team of encouragers who understand the hardship.
I remember when I was talking to my physical therapist about my infertility. I don’t even know how it came up, but it did, and she confessed that she had struggled for 15 years with infertility. After 10 years her husband had found peace in his life without fatherhood, but she had not. She told me about how she prayed for the following 5 years that God would take away her desire to be a mother if she wasn’t meant to be one. And He did. It took a while, but slowly he removed the desire and she has no regrets, in fact, it has opened her up to be the best physical therapist she can be. How cool? I will never forget that day, because that was a story I needed to hear. So many people told me about their sister’s friend’s cousin who struggled and then finally got pregnant or adopted and now has 10 kids, etc. But as well-meaning as those stories were, I wanted to know that I would be ok with or without a child. There were times that I wasn’t sure if I heard God’s promise properly, maybe he didn’t call me to be a mom. But I was terrified to pray away my desire to be a mom. I wanted to be a mom so badly, that I just couldn’t let go of my plans if His plans didn’t involve motherhood. I couldn’t imagine that a life without my own children could still be a life of joy, contentment, and purpose. Hearing my PT talk about how God transformed her heart was so encouraging. She explained to me that He knew her wants and needs better than she did. He knew that her purpose was in the healing ministry. He knew that she would find more joy and contentment in His plan for her than in her plan to become a mother.
Her story didn’t end with the happy family of ten. Instead it continued with a happy family of two and their journey as husband and wife to live for God, and God blessed them beyond their wildest dreams.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“I do not give to you as the world gives.” That is the part of this verse that always sticks with me. If it was up to the world we would tie beautiful bows around every problem:
You want a kid? – Here’s a kid!
You need a job? – Here’s a job!
You hate your husband? – Here’s a divorce!
You feel ugly? – Lose weight!
But we don’t often see what comes after that. Having a child doesn’t stop the feelings of worry and fear of an unfulfilled plan. No, having a child brings about an entirely new set of worries, fears, and plans. Getting a job when you need one doesn’t stop the feelings of inadequacy; new feelings of inadequacy come with the new job! Divorcing your husband doesn’t suddenly cure your feelings of hatred and fix your relationship issues. Now you just have more baggage to bring into the next relationship. If you feel ugly and lose a bunch of weight without working through the roots of your insecurity, you’re still going to feel ugly in your skinnier body. As humans we want quick fixes, but it’s in the waiting that God fixes our hearts. It’s in the discomfort that we learn to rely on God instead of ourselves. It’s in the unknowns that we come to the conclusion that we are not God because God knows all and we definitely don’t know it all.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? I know, I’m jumping around a lot, but I have very limited time to write and I just need to get these thoughts out.
If Jesus gave as the world gave, I would have had a child 7 years ago when Dean and I lived in Columbia. I would have thought that would solve my unhappiness and it wouldn’t have. I’m not sure what would have happened in the years to come but I’m pretty sure I would not have been able to go to Kenya, I would not have connected with my dear sweet Chantal, I would not have become a Director of Youth Ministry, and the list goes on. It was my deep sorrow of infertility that drove me to my emotional breakdown, which in turn led to prayer within my yoga practice, which then lead to me becoming a Holy Yoga instructor. None of those things were in MY plan. And then the move!
God really boasted of his goodness with our move. I can’t even believe I get to live in this house, in this neighborhood, in this city. I can’t believe he has called us to the water, the beautiful water. I cried when I said goodbye to my beautiful backyard sunrises of my old house. In my new house the sunrise is blocked by trees and by my neighborhood, but when it comes down to it, I couldn’t really sit and watch it even if I could see it. Mornings are busy with feedings, snuggles, coffee, and prayer. It is in my evenings that I now find leisure, and wouldn’t you know it….God gave me a beautiful spot to watch the sunset! He gave me a spot where the water transforms from murky brackish brown to the pinks and blues of cotton candy; a spot where Sammy and I can watch daddy paddle in from his kayak excursion; a spot where mommy can walk the beach and pick up shells and stones and revel at all of God’s glorious creation.
God took my dream and enhanced it with elements that I didn’t even know were possible. And when I look into my son’s face I get it. I know why I had to wait, because any other child would not be Sam. Samuel was meant for us and we were meant for him. My entire being knows it. I knew it from the moment I held him in my arms and looked down upon his face, “This is my son.” Thank you Jesus!