Just Enough

Yesterday, I had a bad day emotionally.  I was tearing up through most of the church service.  I didn’t actually even want to go to church because I knew I was too fragile to deal with people.  I forced myself to go though, and was proud of myself for pushing through the pain.  Sometimes I push away the people closest to me when I am in this fragile state.  I think it is because I have been the most vulnerable with them and know how easily the tears will flow upon opening my mouth to speak to them.  That was proven by the fact that I started sobbing while talking to my mother-in-law at church!  At this point, I am not angry with God.  I think I am sometimes angry with the situation.  Selfish me wants an end to this pain and the end would be holding our little bundle of joy.  Impatient me starts to take over and wonder why this is all taking so long.  So to try and shorten this up a bit, yesterday was rough.

This morning, though, God provided.  While I was all worked up, God worked out something.  It was just enough news to get me through another day.  No, it isn’t an impending arrival, but it provided just enough for my day to be brightened.  I am so thankful for that.  It seems that each time I am ready to give up, God provides just enough to keep me going.  Doesn’t He always?  Often we are too enveloped in our own circumstances to acknowledge it.  Today, I can say there is a smile upon my face…a welcome presence drowning out the pain of yesterday.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your comfort today.  For being enough.  May I always remember that.

Amen.

God’s timing

As I reflect on the last couple weeks I have mixed feelings.  I was very upset with myself for allowing such despair to creep back in and ruin my days.  I am learning, though, that it is okay to have bad days.  It is alright to question why this is happening to me.  Even as I was on the brink of throwing in the towel, I knew I would find a place of comfort again.  Some of my healing from this recent valley came from my better half.  He has not always understood the depth of my pain through this, but he provided just what I needed last week.  He was the embrace I needed.  The shoulder and the ear.  Within the confines of his arms I feel like I can make it through anything.  

As I muttered, “I give up,” to God I knew I wouldn’t.  How do you give up on your dream?  The Lord also provided some hope at just the right time.  It was like He was saying, “Don’t give up, child, I have a plan.”  This is the start of a new week and my prayer is that I can continue to find comfort and hope in the Lord.

A time to weep, a time to laugh

As I finished submitting my entry yesterday, I felt relief wash over me.  I think I just needed to get it out.  I tend to bottle things up not wanting to make people feel sorry for me or bother them with my troubles.  My resolve to make today better was met with those ugly feelings of despair and hopelessness at every corner.  Part of the issue, if I look more closely, is that in my silent struggle I also keep the Lord at bay.  Just like I do not want to bother friends or family with my pain, I sometimes feel the same way about God.  My heart has been poured out to Him so many times I feel I have nothing new to say.  My desire, my pain, my longing have not changed.  This thought process is incorrect, I know, but I am simply trying to be honest.  I believe it is okay for me to have bad days, but I have to keep clawing my way out of the pit of despair and into the arms of the one true Comforter.  Honestly, I am not completely there yet today, but within the pit I have chosen to stand up.  That is the first step towards getting out, right?

Below is an article I found today.  It was a great encouragement to me and I hope you will take the time to read it.  

A Letter to Infertile Women on Mother’s Day


By MeLissa LeFleur

To my Friends who find themselves childless on yet another Mother’s Day:

Take a deep breath. I understand and I promise you’ll survive. Well, there was one year I thought I might not make it, but I pulled myself out of the pit and I lived to see another day. If I can do it, you can too! 

I know, you’re getting older. I am too. It seems like the biological clock has started ticking twice as fast as it used to. You have finally realized that when/if you have kids, you’ll be the “older parent.” The one that people mistake for the grandma! Well sister, I hope I’m standing right there next to you! I hope we both get to attend our child’s wedding, even if we are both retired! 

On Mother’s Day I feel like a little girl jumping up and down and waving my arms—“God I’m over here. Pick me! I want to be chosen too! I know I won’t be a perfect parent, but I’ll give it my best shot.” Do you feel left behind, like you’re the one who will get picked last—or not at all? 

I’ve learned a lot through the last 14 years of Mother’s Days. Want to hear? I promise I won’t give you any sex advice… I’m sure you’ve heard enough advice from complete strangers. (Yeah, I’ve kept a list of unsolicited sex tips so if you want to compare lists, please let me know!) Please realize that these suggestions (below) are things that have worked for me, but I realize that they might not be for everyone. Take the ones that speak to you and toss the rest. 

Mothers actually like their kids!
This Mother’s Day, expect to listen to all your friends gloat about their children and how wonderful they are. At least a few times a year, we find out that mothers actually like their children. Consider Mother’s Day the one day a year where our hopes can be revived and we might remember why we wanted children in the first place. 

Don’t live on a childless island. I know, it’s quieter there, but it really isn’t much fun.
If you are emotionally able, volunteer with the kids at your church. Provide free babysitting to a stressed out mom this weekend. Be around kids sometimes. Parenting is hard… sometimes we need to lend a helping hand and see the stress fall off the face of a friend who is up to her eyes in dirty diapers. I hope someone will lend a hand to me someday. 

We can be a listening ear to that distraught parent. I always want to chuckle when my friends ask me for advice on parenting their kids. Sometimes I want to say, “Hey, I have no idea how to parent a teenager. I can’t even get the conception step right. That’s supposed to be the easy and the most fun part!” 

Foster contentment.
One of the most important is to be content. I talk to women who say, “If only I had _______ I’d be content.” God wants you to be content now. If you’re not content now, a child isn’t going to bring contentment into your life. You’ll simply be just as discontented and also have a screaming child in your arms! 

It’s ok to want a child. Honest. It’s ok if that desire is so strong, you physically yearn for it. Children are a part of God’s design; He created the family. Pray for that child with all your might, but foster contentment in your heart. Submission to God’s plan always brings the most peace. 

Remember, you’re not alone. Reach out for help. Join a message board. Find a friend who will listen. Communicate with your spouse. Talk to God. 

I have a good friend who is also infertile. She shared this with me not long ago, “It was revolutionizing to me to realize how I was wasting my life, wishing for the next phase. I was looking past the abundant blessings I had and focusing instead on what I didn’t have! That lesson, taught to me by the Lord Himself, changed things for me in an important way. I’ve worked since then to relish my sweet husband and our life as two.” What a great example she is to me! 

You’re not damaged goods.
Remember our identity is not “Infertile,” it is, “Beloved Daughter of the King.” Our identity is not found in what we can or cannot accomplish, it is found in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. 

Afford people some grace.
No one truly understands how difficult this journey is unless they have been there. Even if they experienced infertility, they have never walked directly in your shoes. That’s why we have a long list of fertility advice we’ve titled, “Cats, Dogs, and Cough Syrup.” Most of the list has come from well-intentioned folks who want to share what worked for them. Frankly, I don’t really care how you conceived your 8 children, but I refuse to let your advice be a fuel for raising anger in my heart. Instead, I will do my very best to thank you and walk away before I spout off with something I’ll regret later. I’ve learned over the years to give people grace. A high majority of people have really good intentions when trying to help. 

Advice seems to be abundant on a holiday like Mother’s Day. I have a friend who skips church on Mother’s Day. She chooses to avoid the questions, the awkward moments. Instead, she has a wonderful day at home and celebrates her mom. That’s just fine. 

Capitalize on your empty nest.
Plan a vacation you’ve been wanting to take. Work extra hours and take that trip to Paris. Go eat at a fancy restaurant, even if it isn’t a special occasion. Take a long nap. Do all the things you wouldn’t be able to do if you had a whole litter of kiddos. Live it up! 

Concentrate on your mom this Mother’s Day.
Celebrate your mom and her role in your life. Make the day about her, not about you. 

I realize that Mother’s Day is hard for even more reasons than infertility. If your mom has passed away, the day is often filled with grief. I encourage you to do something in her memory on Mother’s Day. Take time to share the memory of your mother with a close friend or family member. 

I’m sure there are others of you who don’t have a good relationship with your mom and the day is a painful reminder of that brokenness. Please know that I’ll be praying for you on Mother’s Day as you grieve and/or seek reconciliation. 

Mother’s Day is hard. I used to hate it! Maybe you do too! For the last several years, I’ve decided to practice my contentment. I might still have a good cry and talk with God, but I want it to be a growing time, not a pity-party. I want to thank God for His blessings and say, “Blessed be Your name.” Not just say it, but truly mean it. 

Will you join me in praying for our sisters who are childless today? 

Admission

Over the course of the past few months I have really been doing well with the whole infertility thing.  By that I mean I hadn’t been crying when I started each month.  I didn’t cringe at every single pregnant person I saw.  I was getting to the point of accepting the trial and finding hope in the Lord’s ultimate plan.  The past week or so has not been like that.  Waves of negativity and doubt have overshadowed my new found joy.  Tears have crept up when I least expected it.  So my admission is that I am failing in my quest to grow stronger.  Last night I actually told God, “I give up.”  The pain consumes me and sucks the life out of me.  Another Mother’s Day is fast approaching.  For me it is one of the most dreaded days of the year.  It will be the day where churches across the country have their mothers stand so we can show our appreciation for them.  They are quite deserving of that applause, but with the sound of each clap, though, it is like a dagger in my heart.  Will I ever get to stand?  People try their best to comfort and I know it is hard to find the words to say.  Many say “it will happen.”  Well, realistically it may not.  Some say, “You just need to stop worrying about it and then it will happen.”  You try that one.  I know they are trying to instill optimism in a rather pessimistic situation, so I do not fault them for their encouragement.  I, though, am very much a realist.  I have no guarantees that I will ever get pregnant and have a baby.  I have no promises that I will get my happy ending. 

I know I will find my way again, but for today……today I will shed my tears and have my pity party. 

Valley of Weeping

The bible study I have been leading is touching on how to cling to God in trials, our valleys of weeping.  So often my first response is to turn to other things to satisfy.  My desire should be, though, to turn to the Lord and ask Him to provide peace among suffering.  I know I have not always handled my infertility the way I should have.  I think emotions I have experienced are all normal, but in my pain I have not always turned to the One who wants me to be desperately dependent on Him.  It seems I am a slow learner.  My independent self impedes my learning of lessons.  In my attempt to be strong I fail to let the Lord be my Rock.  When I come to Him broken, that is when He can do the biggest work in me.  My goal is to cling to the Lord like a person out at sea clinging to a life preserver.  I want the Lord to be enough in my life.  I want my husband to be enough.  When I find contentment is when I will find peace.  If the Lord had not brought me to my knees with this trial would I have become dependent on Him?  I am learning a great deal about myself and of what the Lord wants to do in me.  Thankfully, God is patient with me.  Though I long to be a mother and would often prefer that it had already happened, I would not be the woman I am starting to become if the Lord had not led me through this valley of weeping.

Valley of Weeping

The bible study I have been leading is touching on how to cling to God in trials, our valleys of weeping.  So often my first response is to turn to other things to satisfy.  My desire should be, though, to turn to the Lord and ask Him to provide peace among suffering.  I know I have not always handled my infertility the way I should have.  I think emotions I have experienced are all normal, but in my pain I have not always turned to the One who wants me to be desperately dependent on Him.  It seems I am a slow learner.  My independent self impedes my learning of lessons.  In my attempt to be strong I fail to let the Lord be my Rock.  When I come to Him broken, that is when He can do the biggest work in me.  My goal is to cling to the Lord like a person out at sea clinging to a life preserver.  I want the Lord to be enough in my life.  I want my husband to be enough.  When I find contentment is when I will find peace.  If the Lord had not brought me to my knees with this trial would I have become dependent on Him?  I am learning a great deal about myself and of what the Lord wants to do in me.  Thankfully, God is patient with me.  Though I long to be a mother and would often prefer that it had already happened, I would not be the woman I am starting to become if the Lord had not led me through this valley of weeping.

Encouraged

This past Wednesday I had my first bible study on dealing with trials and adversity in life.  Though I still do not understand my situation or why it cannot be different right now, I feel I have started to see light among the darkness of despair.  As I was surrounded by 18 other women, who came with their own baggage, their own doubts, their own tribulations, I was actually encouraged.  Our commonality is pain and difficulties, and through our time together I found a new resolve to keep pressing on.  The author of the book we are reading said, “Pain is pain, and all pain hurts.”  Infertility is my trial.  It is my pain, and even though I have not experienced some of the pain these women have I can relate to them.  As I shared what God had placed on my heart, I felt overwhelmingly that I was doing exactly what He wanted me to do at that moment.  For the first time in this journey, I feel like I am thinking less of myself and more on what I can do for others.  I look forward to what we will continue to learn in this study.  My story is difficult to share, but the reward in doing so is that I can help others.  When I got home Wednesday, I was almost joyous over my circumstances.  I couldn’t believe it.  How could I find happiness among the pain?  My joy is in the Lord.  Purpose found.

Aside

I have not written in a while.  Busyness has taken over lately and I find myself wanting to slow the pace of my life.  This same busyness, though, keeps my mind off things, off the pain.  In the quiet moments….that is when the sadness catches up.  It overtakes my mind and discontentment rears its ugly head.  So, in a way, I like keeping busy.  The hustle and bustle does not fix my heart, though.  It merely glosses over the void, puts a temporary patch on it.  The long-term status of my heart is not fixed.  As soon as the dull moment comes the bandaid is ripped away and the pain is raw.  I too often rely on myself to heal.  Though I cannot change my situation, I feel if I am busy or if I try not to think of it, I will be okay.  The trueness of the situation is that I am not allowing the Lord to be my Healer.  It is like if I am sick and do not approach the doctor about my symptoms.  He cannot prescribe anything if I do not visit.  I need to come to the Lord more for healing.  Only He can fill the void of being childless.  Only as He applies the ointment can I find the strength to face the world.  I want true healing.  I want the Lord to be enough. 

Lord, please heal the void in my heart.  Come fill it.  Bring healing and understanding that Your plan is what is best for me.  Give me strength to face this trial.  Amen.

Aside

Hope, Patience, Prayer

Tonight I was reading Romans 12.  In verse 12 it is continuing a list of how we should behave.  It says, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer”.  I am most definitely rejoicing in the hope of adoption!  Patience, well patience has never been my strong suit.  I spent a long time on this infertility journey trying to get God to understand why MY plan was best.  As I have started to surrender my pain and disappointments and plans, I have found a peace I had not known.  It is a daily surrender, though, because the struggle to give up control is difficult, but it is getting easier.  The last part of the verse talks about continuing in prayer.  The definition of steadfastly is “with resolute determination”.  The more time I spend in prayer the better I feel.  That is when I can turn over control.  I can lay it all at His feet and know He will take care of me.  I may not get what I want, but God knows what I need. 

Healing

This morning I read a quote that said, “The way through the pain is to reach out to others in theirs.”  Can putting aside my selfish pity and turning my eyes to others in their plight really restore my broken heart?  Will He truly bind up my wounds?  Perhaps the focus on my desires has been the reason for not seeing my purpose sooner.  My belief is now, yes, God can use me in my suffering to be an encouragement to others.  Thank you, God, for the work You are doing in my life.  Help me to spread Your love that others may see You are the true Healer.