Lauren said... "How has love changed your life?"
I am really opening up here - but I have come to realize that there is no point in hiding my story. By doing so, I would be hiding the glory of God in my life. I would like to add that this not my entire story, this is one part of the bigger picture. God has and is doing a lot of other awesome things in my life. This story does not define me in any way. I also want to give the disclaimer right up front here that this is my story. This does not apply to everyone else dealing with this struggle. I am only sharing what God showed me - He may speak to you differently and that's wonderful!
I decided to write this post after I was asked some questions in a comment from a lovely fellow blogger who shares a similar "struggle" that I do. I thought about just answering her question in a comment back - but realized I could give a one word answer... or leave much too long a comment! So that's when I decided to share my story.
"Thanks so much for the comment. IF is very difficult at times, but I know I can get through this with God by my side. Your blog is beautiful! And I cant wait to read more about you. Have you done IUI before? We tried the clomid, than 3 cycles of IUI with clomid and femara. However after 3 failed cycles and still unexplained IF we decided that a break was needed. I just didnt feel that was the path that God wanted us on, at least not right now. So we have another appointment with our RE in September and we will go from there. However I am loving the break!!! Its been great not having to plan everything around b/w and IUIs. And of course now that its the summer we would like to enjoy as much of it as possible.
Happy WFW and God bless!"
This sweet sister is talking about infertility. She's right. Infertility (IF) is very difficult at times - or all the time, depending on the day, week, or month you're having. She asked a simple question: "have you done IUI before?" (she's talking about intra uterine insemination)The answer is equally simple: "no." But I feel that a little explanation is needed and the best way is to tell the story of my infertility journey.
When John and I got married 4 years ago we knew we wanted a family some day. We hadn't really talked about when, and since everyone else I knew that was getting married was also making appointments to go on birth control, that's what I did too. In our society waiting a few years and then trying for a baby just seems to be what everyone does. We were only married about 6 weeks before we both realized we wanted to start our family as soon as we could!
John and I had both been led to the first verse in Psalm 127 "unless the Lord builds the house, it's builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over a the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." We both felt in our hearts that God was telling us that if God wants us to have a baby we are taking birth control in vain (did we honestly think a few hormones were going to stop God??) So I went off the pill and we felt such a great peace about it. Of course, we were expecting to get pregnant very soon. After all, why else would God speak to us so clearly about surrendering to His plan and going off the pill?
Month after month went by and I became increasingly worried. I wanted to have a baby so badly, and I didn't understand what could be taking so long. I can't explain in words how hard it was to get my hopes up every month, only to realize at the end that I wasn't pregnant yet. Toward the end of that first year I was having a really rough time. We were headed off to Canada for a church conference, and while we were there we would celebrate our first anniversary. I really thought that month would be the month - I was wrong. Here's what happened...
I was having an awful day - for a lot of different reasons... one of them being the fact that we'd been trying nearly a year and I still wasn't pregnant. I was hurting big time, and I confess I was a little mad at God. We walked into the church for the evening session (I really didn't want to be there) and we were late. As we entered the sanctuary I heard the beautiful sound of a violin playing and I stood in front of my seat letting my broken heart just soak it in. Then a voice began to sing the lyrics to "Here I am". We all sang along and when we got to the chorus I broke down. God spoke right to me. As I sang, "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that you're my God..." God whispered to my heart "will you still say I am your God even though you're not pregnant? What about if I never let you become pregnant? Will you still say I am your God then?" In an instant the answer permeated my soul and came out my mouth "YES LORD - You will still be my God no matter what!" I knew joy in those moments. I knew the love of my Father, and what it meant to be submissive to His will. I experienced a freedom in saying those words.I still struggled with not being pregnant - I still wanted a baby with all my heart. But, I was no longer mad at God and mad at the world. Then the unexpected happened...
A few weeks later I found out that I was pregnant! I cannot express the joy in my heart and the bliss that followed the next couple months. It's also difficult to describe the pain and absolute devastation we went through when we lost our baby in September. I wrote a little about it here when I explained how God gave us Isaiah 54:10 to get us through. "'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, not my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord who has compassion on you." The next year was a very difficult one as we navigated through the tumultuous waters of grief. Then, in July '07, I found out I was pregnant again! Our joy was mixed with fear as we wondered if we would meet this precious baby. In less than a week our worst fears were realized, as we lost our second baby. Again, hanging onto Isaiah 54:10 kept me breathing. Though, I was still plunged into a season of deep grief and depression.
Months after my second miscarriage we went in for some fertility testing. At this point we had been trying for a little over 2 years. The testing was awful. Intrusive. We felt violated and embarrassed at times. There was never any good news. Finally, a couple days before Christmas we received a phone call from one of the three doctors we were working with. He informed us that we had a 6% chance of delivering a baby. He went on to say that we could try all kinds of treatments, but that could get expensive and some people just can't have children. Thanks. Merry Christmas. (can you sense my sarcasm - cause it's there!)
But, I just couldn't let it go - I couldn't give up. So we went with the mildest therapy they would offer - chlomid. In early January I picked up my prescription and got ready to start. Let me say that I was very unsettled about doing this. I didn't have a good feeling in my spirit. I was strongly sensing that the Lord did not want me doing this - but any time I heard that voice I shut it off. I wanted to get pregnant and that was that. I took the chlomid for a few days and then I realized something awful. I had stopped hearing from God. I wasn't feeling His presence anymore. Before I took the medicine I could feel Him everywhere - He was constantly trying to tell me not to do it. After I took the chlomid it was like I turned the switch off. He stopped talking. He stopped trying to get through to me. In my disobedience I had cut the lines of communication with my Father. I was horrified with myself. I immediately repented and flushed the rest of the medicine down the toilet.
It didn't end there. I needed a complete heart examination and I didn't like what I found. God showed me that I was guilty of idolatry... strong word... but true! I had made having a baby an idol in my life. It was what I thought about every day. I read books about it, I dreamed about it, I talked about it constantly. God was in my life, but He wasn't first. Anything in our lives that is before God is an idol. I repented of all of it and then God asked me to do something he had asked back at the beginning of this journey. He asked me to give it to Him. He reminded me of the verse in Psalm 127. If God wants us to have a baby He will do it. There is no amount of chlomid I can take that will change that. If He doesn't want us to have a baby then we won't. Fertility treatments won't change that. So I surrendered. I gave it all back to him and I have never been the same.
I live in freedom now. The chains of bondage are broken. The idols in my life have been destroyed. I can serve God with my whole heart because it wholly belongs to Him. I have a peace and a joy that I didn't have before. Does it still hurt knowing that I may never have children? Yes. Is it still hard to hear friends and family announce pregnancies? absolutely. Do I still miss my babies in heaven? Yes - everyday. Do I still long to have a baby. Yes. But it doesn't consume me anymore. I trust God to do what He wants with my life because I know that His plan for me is better than anything I could ever imagine or plan for myself. I am the clay - He is the Potter. And guess what? I like being the clay!
So that's the journey I've been on the last few years. It's not a road I would wish anyone else to travel, but I know it is the road God paved for me. It's the story He is writing for me. I know he's had a plan for us through every sacrifice and difficult day. We want whatever is going to bring Him glory. Click here for a little more on that.
So what happened after I surrendered fully to God's will? We became us foster parents. We had the joy of caring for Alex and Avery for three months. You can read a little about them here. I wouldn't trade those months for anything in the world. Now He is sending us out to expand the borders of our tent. John is headed to seminary! We are moving to a new area and entering into a new ministry. It's super exciting and a little bit scary, but it's all a part of this plan He has for our life.
So that is the very long answer to a very simple question! I want to add again, that this is what God showed us! It doesn't say anywhere in the Bible that taking birth control is a sin, or that taking chlomid is a sin. Each person must pray and hear from God on their own about these issues. This is simply what He had for us. Please do not think that I am condemning anyone - I am certainly not! I am simply sharing what God spoke to me personally. My story is not everyone else's story.
I want to also give you the opportunity to ask me any questions you would like and I will do my best to answer them (shortly) in a future post! Ask away ...