There are some paths in life that we are forced to walk. If it were up to us, we would bypass them completely and take another route. Who would want to take the rocky, rarely traveled road sure to bring difficulties when you could take the wide, smooth path guaranteeing as few bumps as possible? Except that wide, easy path you see only exists in your imagination. What's right in front of you is one path, one option, one way forward. You can choose to continue down it as scary as it may be, or turn and run as fast as you can the other way.
Choosing to run the other way? That was me when I realized the path was infertility.
What I couldn't see at that point was that the journey of infertility was really a love story. A beautiful pursuit. My heavenly Father, refusing to let me go, insisting that I let Him help me through the rocky terrain.
When I decided to walk the path God set before me, I was accepting the invitation to experience Him like never before. I was saying yes to being broken in order to be healed. Because the only way we can walk forward in new life is by shedding our old skin. You can be sure the path is tough. It will not feel good. But the outcome will far outweigh the suffering.
I've struggled to write this post for a long time now. There are so many things I wish people knew about infertility -- the heartache, the constant feeling of being broken and worthless, and the struggle to maintain a positive outlook when your greatest dreams can't come true. I also wanted this post to be an encouragement for those walking through it. But it wasn't until recently that I knew this post had to be different than what I originally imagined. Yes, I could sit and tell you all the details of the heartbreak, but the truth is you already know them. Because at some point in your life your perseverance was tested, your hopes and dreams were crushed, and you were left feeling worthless and so very alone. You see, infertility is like any other journey that challenges you (death of a loved one, losing your job...). We all experience the same feelings in this life -- just through different circumstances.
Instead of telling you how hard these last few years have been, I want to tell you what I learned. That my God is bigger than anything I can ever come up against and his character is more beautiful than I ever knew. This is how He took me by the hand and showed me just how much He loves me. This journey was the tool he used to demonstrate his unfailing grace to me.
The only thing I ever wanted to be was a mom. I never really had my sights set on a career. That goal just didn't spark anything inside me. The funny thing is that even though the women I admire most in my life are stay at home moms, I had a hard time accepting that dream as being sufficient. In the back of my mind, I never really thought it would be good enough for me to achieve that. Somehow by being a stay at home mom, I would be a disappointment, not using my gifts in the best way possible.
Somewhere along the way of growing up, I decided that people's approval of me was more important than anything else. More important than embracing who I really was. I hid behind always trying to be enough for everyone -- doing more, being more, giving more so that I would be needed and therefore, could never be worthless. If people need you, then they will keep you around. And when your greatest fear is not being enough and not being loved, then you strive with all your might to never lose that.
What I did not realize was that I was approaching my relationship with God in the same way. I knew that it was by grace alone that I was saved, but my actions and mindset said otherwise. I was trying to prove to God that I was worthy of His grace. I was trying to "earn" it. But all this effort was for nothing. Perfectionism was suffocating me and drying up all of my joy. The illusion of having to maintain control of my life was wearing me down. I had no need for God because I was trying to save myself.
Over time, I lost sight of the unique person God created me to be. I can see now why God couldn't let me have what I wanted. He was actually protecting me from myself, because I wouldn't have known what to do with it. Infertility was a necessary pit stop for my journey. Even after becoming a mom, I would have spent all my time wondering if I was still enough. He had to show me that even in my most broken state when I couldn't accomplish anything in my own strength -- that was when I was most beautiful to Him. His grace would cover me, if I let him. Surrender was my starting point. Sitting at his feet to learn from him and then moving forward by trusting Him was the path to peace.
The past three years have taught me a few things. God sees you in your deepest struggles. And He will always be waiting there, ready to walk the road with you. He is constantly at work in you, refining you to be more like His son. Most importantly, He is FOR you. Everything He does is for your good and His glory. He loves you more than you can possibly know. Realizing that God wholeheartedly wants what is best for you will free you from trying to control your life. In humility, you can give up your own desires in order to accept what he is giving you -- learning to be thankful for each day and each moment even if you wouldn't have picked it for yourself.
I know not everyone will struggle through this journey of infertility. We each get a unique path perfectly suited to address our weak spots, often the areas we are disguising as our strengths. While the story line may vary, the final chapter is the same. God doesn't need you, He wants you. God loves you -- unconditionally, just as you are. Once you can embrace that truth, you are free to step into the light, becoming more of yourself than you ever thought possible.
If you are dealing with infertility, I would encourage you to take time to grieve. Let the sadness in and let your heavenly Father hold you while you cry. And then with great trust, let Him lead you into himself. You may or may not ever have the opportunity to bear children, but you can rest in the fact that God is enough. Only then will you experience His peace. Even after finding out that we were pregnant (a miracle, truly!) I didn't feel fulfilled in the way I expected. It is a gift that I am so grateful for, but nothing can fill the God-shaped void inside of you except God. Being pregnant will not change that. I promise. Saint Augustine once said “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
I would also encourage you to let people in on your journey. Let them see your brokenness. They may not know what to say or how to help, but its better to have it out in the open, to be honest about your struggles. When we open up to one another, it allows real relationships to form. I promise you will feel loved and see you are most definitely not alone. I wish I had shared our journey more openly, sooner. The encouragement from family and friends was medicine for my soul. I've learned that oftentimes, God speaks his truths loudest through the people he puts around you.
Hugs to you!