Last Monday truly was such a difficult day for Josh and I. I think for the first time in a long time, we felt utterly hopeless. We expected our IVF journey to end much differently than it did. Throughout the last 10 months, we saw these tiny glimpses of hope and imagined this wonderful grand finale. And when that didn’t happen, our hearts felt crushed.
I think I can speak for us both when I say Monday and Tuesday were a depressing daze. We sat at the dinner table Monday looking at each other and for the first time Josh muttered the words “I just question if we ever are meant to have kids. Maybe we just need to move on and accept this.” My heart begged him and God for peace to try IVF just “one more time” and Josh shared that He didn’t feel it’s the path we should take. I prayed for the peace that it is what God wanted us to do, so I could trump Josh’s card with a “God says” one … and yet I felt the complete opposite of peace. I felt unsettled whenever I thought about starting over with another round, which was a 180 from where we were a few weeks prior.
Tuesday brought an immense grief that is difficult even now to reflect back on. I laid in bed weeping those tears that actually physically hurt because you can’t catch your breath and your body hurts from being grasped by sobs. The amount of grief I felt was overwhelming, as it had been stronger than what we had experienced in the past.
“Why am I so sad!?” I literally cried this out in my empty bedroom. (Cali gave me her signature head tilt like she was trying to understand so she could provide me an answer.) “Why does this hurt so badly? It actually feels like someone died.” It’s true. I hadn’t even cried that hard at funeral or deaths.
Then the answer came to my head softly.
“You are grieving a part of you that has died – the part of you that had hope.”
Once those words entered my head, I knew it was true. Throughout all of this, I have always had hope. Hope for a happy ending. Hope for a pregnancy, hope for a child. Hope for God to be glorified and hope that our story would end in praises, not tears.
I was grieving my loss of hope.
As I laid there, I realized I felt like a shell of who I once was. The last 24 hours of pain took a toll on my heart and mind. Instead of accepting this outcome of this one cycle, I transformed it into the fact that we would NEVER have a child. That God would NEVER answer our prayers. That we were NEVER heard. That we had to accept this final answer.
But then I realized this didn’t have to be the final answer. And that we serve a God of eternal Hope. A God that surprises everyone when logic, reasoning, statistics and odds aren’t in their favor. Yes, we may feel like David facing the giant Goliath of infertility, but God is a God of beating the odds.
Within minutes, it felt like I had an optimistic breath breathed back into my soul – I literally envision hope-filled air bring breathed back into my empty lungs. I felt like I could breathe again.
Here’s the thing – Josh and I still feel strongly that God is saying that our IVF journey is over. And that’s been hard to accept because we have had our best odds and chances with IVF. We have tasted success and experiences more hope in a cycle doing IVF than we have in the 4 years prior. But its pretty clear to us both that’s not where we are being called. Perhaps we found too much peace in the statistics and the hope that the doctors brought us. Perhaps we felt secure knowing we had an embryo or two transferred and that this would be an easy miracle for God to work. But again, God is a God of miracles despite what circumstances or odds we alter for Him. Do I doubt for a minute that the 4 previous cycles where not where we were called? Not for a minute. I am certain that is where God wanted us. (I asked Him “why?” to this too and the words that were breathed into my ear were simply “I was making you relate-able.” How powerful is that?)
And in perfect God-timing, just as I was starting to realize no matter what, we still had God to hope in, a friend texted me these words: The enemy wants you to lose hope…Let Gods light shine through this time and destroy the evil beings that want to kick you when you’re down. Send them running!!! It’s impossible for anything God touches to not be good. He has His hand on the both of you.
How powerful that was. It immediately made me realize how the devil had tricked us into believing that our hope was in IVF. Without it, we have nothing! Our hearts cried. We will never have children! Woe is us! But isn’t that exactly what the devil wanted us to feel. He removed the verses from our hearts that said:
“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” Psalm 31:24
“We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” Psalm 33:20-22
“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
“You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed.” Psalm 119:114, 116
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29: 11-13
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?” Romans 8:24
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Need I continue? It’s OBVIOUS that our hope needs to be FIRMLY planted in HIM and not in anything else. And perhaps being completely stripped of the material treatments, medications, and plans will be exactly what He needs to get our attention 110% and whisper “Hope in ME.”
I of course still have the same diagnosis as earlier (PCOS) and know that in our human minds, getting pregnant naturally will be very difficult based on the one small factor of having extremely messed up hormones and, oh yea, that little problem of never ovulating. So Josh and I are open to trying some natural methods to try to get my body cleansed and perhaps use natural supplements and vitamins to increase our odds. We feel a lot of peace in our hearts that this is the route that we are meant to walk on at this time. And it’s tough! I don’t have an idea of what the future may hold.
As I was contemplating how I could perhaps talk with a natural doctor about what their thoughts were on my diagnosis and issues, I received an email from someone (a Godly mom of a coworker of a friend of ours … how’s that for a network coincidence?) who felt led to email us after reading our blog about a natural doctor that her family has seen and if we were willing to give it a try, would love to donate $1,000 to the treatment there.
Wow. Hello God, I am hearing you LOUD and CLEAR. And of course, because He is a God who we confirms our hearts, we began to receive many more messages that this was the path He was ordaining us to take without anyone knowing that was the direction He was placing.
Isn’t it amazing how He works? So we simply are going to step back and redirect our paths to simply allow God to work. We still feel like we are engaging interactively to do what we can to allow Him to work (natural supplements, diet adjustments, etc). and feel that He is blessing these steps we are taking. We know that this route may take us many more months or years but the peace He is providing is priceless.
I realize this is all getting long winded but a couple things before I close:
1) I am so thankful for the outpour of love, support and care we received this last week. Your texts, shared verses, and generous love meant a lot and spoke to us in ways I can’t even begin to share. So thank you.
2) Physically I am feeling okay. These last few days have been cramp-filled and physically brutal but I am having a good day and am thankful for Tylenol and heating pads. Each day from here should get easier.
3) I truly love engaging with my readers. I routinely get emails and messages from those of you joining in our story and love hearing more about you and your heart. I wanted to pause and take a moment to answer a question I received a few days ago from a follower, C. C shared her own person battle with infertility and shared how my blog has influenced her, but closed with a question I get often:
“I do have one question for you though that has been on my mind throughout this whole journey : How does one keep the faith in God? … I can’t help but ask myself every day why God is putting me through this. Doesn’t He see that I have more than enough on my plate? Doesn’t He see that I need a break, instead more and more keeps happening to me and my husband? I can’t seem to understand why He is doing this to me.”
I asked C if I could share and answer my thoughts to these questions on here and she kindly obliged.
My brain is complexly spinning trying to come up with the “right” words to say. I wrote a blog posting once about the greater purpose of waiting (which you can read here), but I don’t know that it will answer C’s question fully. But instead of trying to come up with the right answer, I can only share my heart.
The truth is C, that I simply don’t know every reason why God is allowing you (or any of us) to suffer with what you’re dealing with. This world we live in is a world marked with sin, evil and hardship. Throughout every single day we are all faced with disappointments, discouragements and pain as a result. But I do believe that despite that, God brings good out of these situations. I am learning that instead of focusing on the WHY, I should be pursing His heart and asking WHAT He wants to teach me through this.
How do I keep my faith in God? For me it’s simple. He has never left me. He has used my pain in ways that I would never imagine simply because I have given it over to Him with faith and trust that His ways are better than my ways. I had another reader send me the quote “”His rejection can be His protection.” I choose to believe that He isn’t taunting me or causing me pain for fun. In fact, it’s in these tough times that I feel Him closer to me, more than I have ever felt.
Sometimes I feel like He fills up our plate simply to bring us to the point where we shout out “I can’t carry this all anymore! I can’t handle this death. I can’t handle this failed cycle. I can’t handle this argument with my friend and this conflict at work!” And instead of turning to God and pointing the finger and saying “YOU DID THIS TO ME!”, He wants to say to you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28)
Why is He “doing” this to us? I don’t know exactly, but I do know He doesn’t want us to carry it alone. He wants to teach us to lean into Him. He wants to use our stories. He wants us to reflect and ask what we are learning as a result of this. Could I learn patience as a result of this dealing with infertility? Could this suffering motivate me to look at all I have and express gratitude for what I have been given, instead of what I haven’t? Am I able to develop compassion for others that I may not have seen or had a heart for before?
I am constantly asking God to show me ways that He wants to work in my sufferings. And I find that when I chose to respond to my pain with peace in Him as I trust Him, He fills my heart with even more of Him and gives me a purpose for my pain. The simple fact that we are able to have this conversation – that perhaps you are able to see more of Him in your hurt – makes my suffering and experiences worth it. Truly.
I could go on and on but I encourage each of you to look at your suffering and struggles as a way to see Him more clear. He’s there, waiting to show you more of Himself.
On that note I shall end. I have so much more in my heart to share but shall wait for another post. I will still of course keep up with my blog even though it will steer away from medical treatments and focus more on the next quieter phase of our journey. I hope you will still join me for what’s to come! I promise less sadness, more humorous stories and a few pictures of Cali. Ohhhh, I know you just can’t wait. Hehe!