Grace in Infertility : How to Find Grace in Your Identity

img_4449I have to be honest with you. This topic is something I’ve started to write about a hundred times and ended up turning back, deleting the words I had poured out on the page. There is no easy way to talk about this. I know the pain of hearing the words, “I understand” when in reality it is just not possible for anyone else to understand. Even among other women going through infertility, the truth is that each of our stories are different. Some have answers as to why, while some of us of don’t. Some have miscarried on our way, and some of us have never experienced that. Some have done extensive infertility treatments, while others have only done a few. But each of our pain runs deep. And I’m betting you have a hard time feeling encouraged by other people. You don’t know how the end of your story will go. You want to have hope, but at the same time you feel that hope could destroy you if this doesn’t end the way you’ve planned. The hormone treatments, the delay in future planning, the empty bedroom you wanted to turn into a nursery, all of those things haunt you. But they don’t have to.

I wasn’t going to attempt writing about this again, but last week I saw under search engine terms for a blog I used to write, lifeofaweekendwife.wordpress.com, that someone had searched “does God love childless women”. And it broke my heart. I’ve been there. Some days I’m still there. To the woman who searched for an answer to that question out there in the sometimes lonely world of the internet, you are not alone. You are indeed loved by our God. You are valuable to Him, and though your life feels so hard right now, though you feel your heart has broken, God is still holding you and carrying you and blessing you in ways you may not have the strength to see at the moment.

We face a very difficult struggle in our spiritual life while at the same time we are battling the physical and emotional difficulties when we go through infertility. And there is the temptation for the desire to carry a child to become consuming, to become the only thing that will bring us joy, to become our idol.

Matthew 6:22-24 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad , your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.”

What do your eyes see? Infertility can direct our eyes only to the darkness, only to the hard days, only to the emptiness. There are days when this emptiness seems to be the only thing that matters. The devil would like infertility to become our master, one who will break and destroy us. But God says you can only serve one master, and so if the one I am hopelessly devoted to is my infertility then I have traded in my joy only found in the Lord for pain, I have made it my idol. I am completely guilty of this. I have had my days where I have turned my face from God, angry and discouraged and weeping because of this gift He simply has not given to me. It’s a terrifying thought when you realize this might not be God’s plan for you. It’s a balancing act between knowing that God can heal the barren woman, and also knowing that His will and His timing are always better than our own. As I said over on my previous blog lifeofaweekendwife, God can bring life from empty tombs and empty wombs. But sometimes that life is not what we expect.

My husband asked me a question the other night that just keeps replaying in my head, keeps resonating in my heart, keeps convicting me.  He asked, “Do you think you could ever be happy if we never have a baby?”. This question came after another night of tears and brokenness, another night of me giving up hope. And I paused when he asked me. Because I knew the truth but I did not want to say the words. And I realized, I had done it again. I had given into the tunnel vision that satan creates through infertility. I had forgotten to look around, to see that God is still Good, that His plans for me are still Good. I left behind His will and the ways He wanted to bless my life because those ways didn’t include the one thing I wanted.

God does not want you to experience the pain that you are feeling right now. This suffering was not meant to overtake you, it was not meant to drown you. It is the voice of sin and of the devil who whispers to you that you are not enough and that you will lose this battle. It is God’s voice who can break this cycle. God is your strength, your ever present help in trouble. Does God love the childless woman? Of course He does. Because you are His child. You are His daughter. We will miss out on all the Good that God is working in our current lives if we never choose to look up from what is pulling us so far down. We will forget the beauty of our marriages. We will forget the beauty of our friendships. We will forget that our futures can hold so much joy, so much worth. We will forget to be like Jesus. And all of this forgetting, will become who we are.

Infertility hurts spiritually, physically, and relationally. And it can break you. I think one of the biggest lies that we come to believe during this time is that God doesn’t have our best interest in mind, that He doesn’t love us, and that nothing can take the place of this dream in our lives, nothing can fill that void.

I have hurt for years. Friend, I have prayed and I have cried and I have asked God why. And here is what I think He has to say to us:

Before we are mothers, we are women. And before we are women, we are children. We are His children. And all the while, all through this journey of our lives, God has loved us. He knew what our futures would be before we did. He wrote our story. In Christ you have the identity of one who has been redeemed, meaning one who has been bought back. God can use you right where you are. He can heal you, both physically and spiritually. Maybe the new life that God has prepared for you to bring into this world is through adoption or foster care. Or maybe the new life He wants to bring to this world through you is mission work as you wait, lifting up other sisters in Christ who are being destroyed by this same battle. You and I both know that we don’t want to hear comforting words from anyone else besides those women who are in the trenches with us, who are knee deep in the soul sickness that infertility threatens to bring. The ones who get us.

It has helped me greatly to remember that no matter how children come into this world, whether through us biologically or through the womb of another, all the children ever born belonged to God first. He gets to choose how they come to us. They are loaned to us by Him, to love and to be loved. We are all adopted sons and daughters of the King of Kings, and when we remember that this is who we are, then we can open our hearts to possibilities we never would have imagined for ourselves.

God sees worth in you. He says that YOU were fearfully and wonderfully made. Remember to place your eyes on the things above where Jesus is. It is to easy to become consumed by this struggle. It is too easy to give up on the beautiful things of life, to miss them completely, when we suffer from the tunnel vision infertility brings. Friend, you are loved so greatly. You can accomplish so much and experience so much joy in this life. There is life outside of your empty womb. Break free from it. Trust that God works all things for Good. Trust that He is working all things for your Good.

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And I am convinced that not even infertility can separate us from that same love. God is for you. You are forever His, forever loved by the King.

 

 

 

 

 

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