It Makes You Human

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I’m super excited to start the process of putting together a support group for people with fertility issues at my church that will begin this summer! This is something that has been on my heart for years. I’ve always felt a calling to do this but have fallen into the thought pattern of “I’m just too busy”. I do not know what the Lord is planning for this but I certainly hope that it will be used to touch the hearts of those struggling as well as educate others about infertility.

I’ve been thinking about the perceptions and stigmas of infertility a lot. One thing that was said to me far too many times is this, “Trust God’s will” and “God has a plan for this!” I knew I would never have biological children, of course, but this did not cause me to wonder what God was doing and why I had to deal with barrenness. I also knew that He must have had a plan for me to go through what I was going through, but I just wondered, at times, what He was doing. These questions were not wrong to have. If anything, they caused me to explore my faith a bit deeper. They certainly made me very human.

If you are struggling with infertility and people keep telling you “Trust God’s will” or “If it is God’s will, then it will happen”, please understand that most people do not know how to respond to someone who is dealing with fertility struggles. Not knowing how to respond also makes them very human.

The more we share our experiences, the better off everyone is. Find a trusting friend, immerse yourself with others through a support group, keep a journal, start a blog, or just start talking with others about what you are dealing with.

Whatever you choose to do, please remember that questioning God’s will in this time of your life does not make you less faithful, it just makes you human. 

 

Children Are Worth It

 

Bailey Family 2015-3b&w

Photo Credit:  Freedom Photography

 

I just can’t even tell you how much I love these kids. There are not enough words in my somewhat limited vocabulary that express how rich, deep, authentic and pure my love is for them. They came into my life without expectations. I didn’t care what race or gender they were, or what their histories consisted of. No expectations, just hopeful anticipation.

It took me a while (like twenty-five years since the age that barrenness interrupted my life) to hold a baby and feel that smothering, warm and wonderful feeling of motherhood. Sure, I was a foster mother. Sure, my first baby could have left. Oh, but that feeling…that moment when your soul is completely eclipsed by a love that has not been felt before.

There are moments when I forget that huge mountain of barrenness that once blocked my path. In my frustrations with busyness, struggles with strong-willed children, and just plumb tiredness, I forget how far and how hard the uphill walk was to motherhood.

But…when I look at my children now, I can declare,

“That mountain was thrown into the sea!

That mountain crumbled!

That mountain is no more.

That mountain has been conquered, and praise God for that!”

Honestly, I do not miss the mountain, but I appreciate it. I recognize that barrenness caused immense pain. I fully understand that illness created physical, emotional, and spiritual angst. I know the body is far more vulnerable than the soul.

Infertility and barrenness are hard. Adoption and foster parenting are hard. Raising kids with extra needs is hard. However, all of the “hardness” of it melts away when you realize that your children (however they come to you) are meant to be yours. Don’t give up, friends.

Children are worth it.

 

Momma-in-Waiting (Part #3)

Pssst…Hey Momma-in-Waiting. Yes, you....

I saw you the other day.  I saw the longing in your eyes.  I recognized the deep searching that your heart is doing.  You are waiting for a soft place for your heart to land.  You are on a quest to end the night to which you have been waking up to.

You are a Momma without a child.  You are a Momma-in-Waiting. 

You see the images of the babes of others splattered all over social media.  You watch new mothers at the park.  You greet the new babies at church with love, but while you do, your heart feels as though it is being ripped from your chest.  You read the headlines about others who do not seem to care about the very thing that you long for.

You know there are Momma-less children in the world; and yet, you feel as though every door you try to open remains unlocked.  You also know that there are children-less Momma’s in the world; and yet, you feel completely alone.

You get angry.  You question.  You feel sorry for yourself.  You keep it to yourself.  You are a Momma without a child.  You are a Momma-in-Waiting.

Pssst…Hey Momma-in-Waiting. Yes, you…. 

You are backed into a corner where your faith and your frailness collide.  Still, in this waiting time, there is great beauty.  You…Momma-in-Waiting…You know full well the magnitude of the gift of life.  You know every measure of importance that children are to our lives, and to this world.  You…Momma-in-Waiting…You do not take anything or anyone for granted, anymore.

It may not feel like it now, but there is much to be gained while waiting.  There are moments that cut and sear your heart.  There are moments when doubt about your purpose, or better yet, His purpose seems to cling onto you.  There are times when you feel as though your heart will never recover, and your tears seem to flood any attempt to see life with clarity.

You question.  You seek.  You wonder.  You wait.  You are a Momma without a child.  You are a Momma-in-Waiting.

Pssst…Hey Momma-in-Waiting. Yes, you…. 

You have made a pledge to yourself.  You have promised that once you no longer are in waiting, you will be the best Momma around.  You are already visualizing the moment you see your child for the first time.  You are already thinking about parties, nursery decorations, and announcements.  You may have even, in anticipation, tucked away a picture or item you will use once your wait is over.

In this waiting period, although sorrowful at times, there is great beauty.  There is coloring of the memories to come, prayers for the child who will be joining you, and soul-deepening conversations with the One who hears the deepest, and often unspoken, hunger of your heart.

You pray.  You plead.  You visualize.  You cling.  You are a Momma without a child.  You are a Momma-in-Waiting.

Pssst…Hey Momma-in-Waiting. Yes, you…. 

You do not understand why you are waiting.  You wonder if you did something wrong, or perhaps, just perhaps, you are holding onto the promise of something incredible in store.  Your faith and strength is unwavering.  Did you hear that, Momma-in-Waiting?  YOUR FAITH AND YOUR STRENGTH IS UNWAVERING.  

No one knows how you walk each day with an armor of courage, shield of strength, and heart of hope.  No one fully understands how this life experience has shaped you, grieved you, changed you, and matured your heart to the calling of His voice. Only the other Momma’s-in-Waiting who share in this journey of walking through the wasteland, will ever understand it.

You have courage.  You are strong.  You do not lose hope.  You are a Momma without a child.  You are a Momma-in-Waiting.

Pssst…Hey Momma-in-Waiting. Yes, you…. 

I used to be a Momma-in-Waiting.  I used to greet the new babies at church with quiet happiness, while harboring the sadness in my heart.  I used to feel alone.  I once battled between my faith and my frailness.  Doubt seemed to wrap around me

I questioned if I deserved barrenness.  I wondered if there was a daybreak in sight to the endless night to which I had succumbed.  I fantasized about my babies.  I decorated their rooms in my head.  I clung onto the intense prayers to our Lord.

I look back now, and I recognize the incredible beauty of the wait.  I know that my armor of courage, shield of strength, and heart of hope kept me going each day.  My experience shaped me, grieved me, changed me, and matured my heart to Him.

Pssst…Hey Momma-in-Waiting. Yes, you….

My head was lifted, and so will yours.  My eyes were dried, and so will yours.

Soon, yes, soon….You will no longer be a momma-in-waiting.

Related Posts:

Momma-in-Waiting

Momma-in-Waiting (Part #2)

Dear Infertility (Part 4)

Dear Infertility,

I was reminded of you today.  I was out picking up Christmas presents for my children.  You know…

the ones you swore I would never have.

As I was waiting outside to pick up a big package, a kind gentleman began boasting about the love he has for his little girls.  I concurred with him that girls really are quite special.  I love hearing Father’s speak kindness about their daughters.  He spoke about their ages, and that he would not trade them for anything in the world.

Dear Infertility, I agreed with him.  I would not trade my daughter for anything in the world either.

As the conversation progressed, he mentioned that in just a few short years, things will be different with his daughters.  Their bodies will be changing, and he is concerned that he will not fully understand what they are going through.  He pointed out that he would “Send them to their mother” for answers.

“You know what I mean, right?”  he asked me.

I was caught in a moment of not being sure what to say.  The cold wind whipped around me as if it knew it would not take a lot to push me off of my feet.  I nodded at him, and then said,

“Yes, girls are awfully interesting.”

Dear Infertility, the truth is, I do not know all that he meant.  You changed my life as a girl.  Well, maybe not just you.  My illness, my hysterectomy, and the aftermath that followed, all played intricate parts in the unfolding drama of this life.  All of you took away that unique experience that makes up life in a female body.  The normal path I was born to take came to an abrupt dead-end.  In its place, a new path emerged that diverted from the one taken by every other girl I knew.

Thinking about you feels as though I’m watching you from a rear-view mirror.  You are in the distance, slightly distorted, and not as close as you once were.  I can only see parts of you, but you are still there.  Looking back causes my body to ache just a bit, as if it remembers the pain it once carried.  It winces.  It freezes up.  It will not forget.

Dear Infertility, it appears as though I will never be fully free of you.  Just when I have let you go, or do not feel you anymore, you come raging back at me.  You come up behind me so quickly that I coil back into that girl who once wondered what the heck life was going to be like living as a girl, growing into a woman, and being forced to meander through a baby-bearing world.

As my daughter grows up, I will face you again, and again.  I will have to admit that I do not understand what she is going through as her body starts to change.  I will have to ask for help in explaining it all to her, or better yet, so that I can understand it as well.

Do you know how much that actually frightens me?

Dear Infertility, I will keep my eye on you.  I will continue looking back in that rear-view mirror just to make sure you have not snuck-up on me again.  I will especially watch you as my daughter draws nearer to the age where her God-given body starts to fulfill the experience of life as a female.

I was honest when I replied to the gentleman that, “Yes, girls are awfully interesting.”  It is true.  Girls are interesting in so many ways.

Dear Infertility, because of you, my life as a girl has been very interesting, indeed.

Related Posts:  Dear Infertility 

                         Dear Infertility (Part 2)

                         Dear Infertility (Part 3)

Dear Infertility (Part 3)

Dear infertility,

I ran into you the other day.  You’ve changed.  I hardly recognize you anymore. I’m sure you could say the same thing about me.

Do you remember the first time we met?  I was young and sick.  I was vulnerable, and innocent in so many ways.  I didn’t understand you at all, and you did nothing to help me understand you.  Instead, you covered me like tar.  I tried to shake you off, but you stuck.  Even worse, as I grew up, you became harder to remove from my skin, my thoughts, and my heart.

You stalked me.  You ridiculed me, and you made me believe false things about myself, and about my future.  I was forced to wear you like some uncomfortable skin.  Everywhere I looked, I saw you.  I could not look at a child, and not think of you.  I heard you hissing painful reminders to me, and I felt you pound on my heart each time I tried to picture myself as a mother.

Oh, you met me where I was at alright.  You confronted me in each vulnerable moment of my life.  You chose to mix me up.  You twisted my thoughts, and tore at me.  You even tried to make me believe that I was half the female my friends were. You made me question my design, my worth, and my purpose.  You did your very best to take me down….didn’t you?

Infertility…you are not bigger than you think you are.  You have claimed power in so many people’s lives, but, you are only powerful when preying on people’s weaknesses and insecurities.

Infertility…you are despicable. 

Can I tell you something?  I felt you tremble a little when I was confronted with the love and the hope of Christ.  My Father met me where I was at, but unlike you, He wrapped a blanket of hope, forgiveness, and shelter for the future.  My regrets slid off of my skin when I encountered Him.

One day, I will stand before my Father in Heaven, and you will not be standing there next to me.  You will not be my sidekick, my story, or my painful moment of life.  You will be gone…gone…gone!  

I used to think that when I got to Heaven, I would ask about you.  I wanted to have a deep discussion about why you came at me like you did.  I do not need this conversation anymore.  I have my answer….I HAVE MY ANSWER.  My answer is a blue-eyed, Tomboy who loves her daddy, a blonde-haired charmer who is always one step ahead of me, and a little brown-eyed babe who loves to cuddle.

My answer is the redemption I found in the unstoppable, unfailing love of Christ, and in the unfolding chapters that have been written for my life.  You did not write my future out.  You did not dictate how my life would go, even though you thought you would. You were wrong.  You were so very wrong.

Dear infertility, I ran into you the other day.  You look different from what you used to look like.  I hardly recognize you anymore, and you feel so different now.  You are lighter…barely even noticeable.  You seem so small and weak compared to how you used to be.

Funny thing is….I must look different too….I must feel different to you.

Truth is….I AM different from the person I used to be, and, praise God for that.

2 Corinthians 5:17-Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Related Posts:

Dear Infertility

Dear Infertility (Part 2)