THE WILD WILDERNESS OF INFERTILITY
That’s what infertility will do to you. It will send you through a long, dry trial where you begin to question everything you once firmly believed. You will feel utterly abandoned, completely lost and alone. It’s all a lie from the enemy, but that’s how it feels.
Despite wonderful family and friends, and no matter how solid your support is, infertility makes you feel alone.
And unfortunately, no matter how hard friends and family try, it’s difficult to get it right. Emotions run the gamut from wanting to rock a baby to sleep in my arms to wanting to punch the next pregnant lady I see in the face. Seriously, unless you’ve been there, you just don’t understand how strange and sometimes violent your reactions are. Tears come from no where, and from nothing at all.
There is a crazy mix of happy and sad resignation when a friend tells me they’re pregnant. But then I’m also sad when they keep it from me, and hurt even more when I find out somewhere else. I long for community and fellowship but find it painful at the same time to watch families interact, and need some space. There’s just no winning in infertility.
HARD TIMES TEACH US TO PRAY HARD
The most difficult thing about unexplained infertility – is that it’s unexplained. There is no reason behind it, no cause to blame and nothing to fix. The only thing I can do is accept it.
Many well meaning friends will say, “don’t worry, it’ll happen in God’s time, when it’s His will.” Although I know His timing to be perfect, from past experiences in my own life, this comment is NOT helpful people, please stop saying it! Just like you would never say “it must be God’s will for you to have cancer,” please, just don’t say it.
Like cancer, infertility is a disease, and diseases are part of a fallen world, an affect of sin that God did not intend for us. “The world is fallen and that’s affected the genes of all humans; if the result is poor eyesight for some, why not fertility problems for others? We don’t blame God when we need glasses, so maybe God isn’t to blame for our childlessness either … Maybe He’s just as upset about it as I am.” (Voysey)
I think there are so many things in this broken world that breaks His heart, and infertility for couples who long for a child is one of them, along with a young single woman who finds herself pregnant. I don’t believe these were God’s original plans for our lives. Some of these things that break His heart come about through consequences of a fallen world – some things we cannot help, and some are a result of choices we’ve made. I do believe He is able to use all of those things for good in our lives. But sometimes that “good” might just be protecting us from something bad that never comes about.
“I don’t understand why God has said no to us having a child. Perhaps I never will. But I know Him, and I know He wouldn’t have meant this for evil. So it’s time to let go of the WHY questions now. It’s time for me to move on.” (Voysey) I think I’ve finally come to that point in this journey, the point where I let go of trying to understand. The point where I stop planning my life around cycle days and doctor appointments. Where I get back to living, enjoying the gifts He has already given me – like my wonderful husband, amazing family and great friends.
“We shouldn’t seek answers as much as we should seek God. If you seek answers you won’t find them, but if you seek God, the answers will find you.” (The Circle Maker) I don’t have the answers, but I am finding more and more God working in my life, and thankfully, seeing more peace. He continually meets me in Isaiah 43, reminding me that He is here with me. That in this dry wasteland, when I am overcome by a flash flood (that frequently happen in the desert), He is with me through it all.
It may sound as though I’m giving up, but I want to assure you that I am not. There is a difference between giving up, and letting go. I was ready to give up a few months ago, angry and bitter, tired of fighting for something that obviously was not going to happen. But now, with peace and renewed hope, I’m letting go of my trying to make things happen. I know God is promising us a family, I feel confident about that. So, why should I not trust Him to come through.
“If you don’t guard your heart, unresolved anger towards God can undermine your faith. Sometimes your only option is to trust because it is the last card in your hand, but it’s the wild card.” (The Circle Maker)
“Some of the hardest moments in life are when you’ve prayed hard but the answer is no and you don’t know why. And you may never know why. But that is the litmus test of trust. So do you trust God, that He is for you even when He doesn’t give you what you asked for? Do you trust that He has reasons beyond your reason? Do you trust that His plan is better than yours?” (The Circle Maker)
Have you ever been camping? I mean real camping…not in those parking lot “campsites” like the state parks have here on the east coast. But really camping, where you’re lucky if you see someone from outside of your group?
Growing up in Arizona we would take long camping trips every summer in the mountains. Getting away from the city, the chaos, the noise, the lights, everything. The stars were much brighter, and the sky was much bigger than it seemed down in the desert valley of Phoenix. They always made me feel so much smaller, and yet a part of something bigger.
But it’s the silence of the wilderness that’s frightening. At night, it would get so quiet, I could hear a twig snap from across the meadow. Yet, because it was so dark I couldn’t see what caused it to snap. Was it a rabbit or a bear? I could hear bugs flying by, that sounded as though they belonged in Jurassic Park. Along with many other unidentifiable noises that played on the imagination. Silence in the darkness of the wilderness is frightening, and it’s hard.
When going through the wasteland of infertility, and trying to understand whys, God often feels silent. That’s why it was such a comfort to read in The Resurrection Year that not only did Voysey and his wife understand how it felt to feel silence from God, but Jesus did too.
Jesus felt as though God was absent in Matthew 26 and Luke 22. “He prayed three times with such anguish he sweated blood; even an angel couldn’t console his distress. Yet there was no voice from heaven like there was at his baptism, no thundery words as there were at his transfiguration. Only silence.” (Voysey)
WILD CARD COMFORT
I find comfort in knowing that Jesus understands how I am feeling, that He has felt it too. It’s comforting to know that many others have also felt the same. Throughout the Bible I read about others who are crying out to God, feeling abandoned. But emotions and truth are not always the same. “It’s the gulf between head and heart that widens during pain – when we struggle to feel what we believe to be true.” (Voysey)
God has not abandoned me. He is not ignoring me. He hears my cries, and is shedding tears along with me, no matter what I am feeling. Thankfully, He has given me Isaiah 43 to speak to my heart time and time again. And even during those times when I feel utterly lost in the wasteland, He comes through with another part of that chapter I’d never noticed before. In May 2013, when I was feeling alone, He showed me verse 5. A verse I had never really noticed or paid much attention to before, but this time, it was as though there was a spot light on it:
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west.” Isaiah 43:5
God may be quiet, but He has never abandoned me. He is my wild card. I don’t understand what He’s doing, but I trust Him, and I trust that He has children for us, somehow, somewhere, in our future.