Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the USA and Happy Thursday to my friends around the world. : ) There is something so fun about today. I love gratitude and having a whole day where the entire country is focused on it is pretty neat. Some favorite holiday traditions of mine include watching the Macy’s day parade, listening my husband riffle through the Black Friday newspaper and sharing every good deal in it with me (“No, really though, isn’t that a great deal? I wish we needed a scooter.”), and of course, all the food to be feasted on. My doctor told me yesterday to enjoy the day with responsible portions of carbs and sugars. “It’s only one meal Chelsea. It’s okay. Just don’t take home leftovers and don’t go crazy.” I gotta admit, that made me happy! I am slightly terrified of undoing my hard work but even just one bite of mashed potatoes will make me thrilled. And of course, the relaxing time with the family, creating new memories and enjoying laughter is great too.
But one thing I wanted to share with you all today is this simple fact: I am thankful for my infertility.
No that wasn’t a typo. This Thanksgiving I’ve decided to forgo the traditional gratitude list (all of which are valid and are things I really am thankful for) and instead, share with you this reality.
I am thankful for my infertility.
Dealing with infertility has taught me so many things and given me so much. It has been difficult. There has been tremendous heartache. Many tears. Physical suffering and emotional agony. Moments of desperation and periods of heavy sadness and grief. Yet I wouldn’t trade this journey in for anything.
Infertility has taught me to learn how to choose joy in tough situations. It has changed my heart to be one that sees the glass as half full instead of half empty. It has made my “joy muscles” work out and as a result, there are days I feel like I could bench press a truck. And admittedly, days I ignore the joy gym, but at least I still feel convicted about it. It has reminded me that we are to give thanks in EVERY situation, not just the ones that make us feel warm and fuzzy.
Infertility has strengthened my marriage. I truly can’t imagine walking down this path with anyone other than Josh. It has brought us to our knees in prayer, together as a unit. It has made us realize what God meant when He said we will cleave to our spouse. It has made me appreciate his optimism and positivity more than ever. It has given us reasons to laugh together, cry together, and learn to love deeply and unconditionally. It has made us depend on one another in unique ways and Josh’s example has taught me what it is like to have a servants heart.
Infertility has brought me closer to friends, family and strangers. It has caused me to seek support from unlikely places and communicate in ways I hadn’t imagined. Because of it, my heart has swelled and overflowed due to the incredible kindness of others. I have made new friends thanks to Instagram and this blog – friendships that I don’t doubt will last a lifetime. It has made me more vulnerable with my family and friends – people I see in real life, that have been given an insiders pass to my heart and emotions. It has resulted in beautiful conversations, meaningful prayers prayed, and many tears and hugs given.
Infertility has helped me to look past my own situation and into the lives of others. It has made me more aware that everyone is suffering from a Thing. It has helped me to assume the best about people’s dispositions and taught me to extend grace since I have no idea what path others are walking on. It has sharpened my spiritual gift of encouragement and made me fine tune reading people’s hearts and needs, and prayerfully, helping to say the right words at the right times.
Infertility has made me stronger than I ever imagined possible. It has forced me to deal with difficult tasks – whether it’s giving myself shots or learning patience during a two week wait. It has given me reasons to be sad, cry and learn how to lean on a strength that’s not my own. It has made me pick myself up off the ground, brush the dirt off my shoulders, and keep walking forward. It has taught me the fine art of persistence. It has reminded me that we are to “ask, seek, and knock.” (Matthew 7:7-8). It has taught me to keep knocking and to trust that the door will be opened.
Infertility has taught me that God will equip me where He calls me. Never did I ever imagine having a blog. Never did I imagine writing routinely. Never did I imagine sharing our small story with all of you. Yet each time I sit down, He fills my heart with words and allows my fingers to type in a way that, thankfully, many of you understand. I am not a writer – yet somehow, I write.
Infertility has taught me that I don’t always know best. I have recited Proverbs 3:5 to myself more times in the last few years than any other verse in the Bible. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” It has reminded me that my own logic, my own decisions, my own will and my own knowledge are nothing compared to His will and plans. It has resulted in me trusting where He leads us more than what makes sense in my head. (For the math folks out there, that means His plan > My understanding.)
Infertility will make me a more graceful pregnant woman and hopefully, a better mother. It will allow me to experience pregnancy (God willing) with a spirit of thanksgiving, knowing what a wonderful gift I will be given. (Or at least teach me to know my audience on tough days.) It will allow me to embrace the challenges, remembering how strongly I desired them. It has allowed me to pray for my children and their lives many years in advance. I don’t think I would have been a lucrative mother, but it sure has given me time to prepare my heart as much as possible for what may be ahead.
Infertility has made me enjoy this season of my life. The quiet. The calm. The ability to walk out of the door and run to Target when I want. The ability to have spontaneous date nights with Josh and the ability to go to bed at 8:30 if we so choose. I appreciate sleeping in, taking long baths and watching shows other than Nick Jr. I can’t wait for the time to come when all of that changes, but for this time, right now, I am grateful for what I can experience.
Infertility has taught me that life doesn’t always have to make sense for us to be content. It has helped me realize that if God answered every prayer we all prayed, we would be living in heaven. It has helped me remember that we live in a fallen world, with human bodies that are less than perfect. We are in a world of sadness and death, with more and more dysfunction every day. It certainly isn’t ideal but I serve a Lord that “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God…” (Romans 8:28).
Infertility has made me realize that I don’t always need to come up with the right words to pray in order for Him to be near. “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves…” (Romans 8:26-27a MSG) It has taught me a greater appreciation for His Spirit.
And lastly, and most importantly, infertility has caused me to fall deeper in love with my Father. It has caused me to seek Him with all of my heart. It has made me turn to Him for comfort and it has made me realize that nothing on this earth is more valuable than my relationship with Him. God, in return, has drawn intimately close to me and His daily presence in every moment of my life brings utter joy to the surface. It has taught me that denying myself and following Him (Luke 9:23) is to trust in His plan and walk with Him regardless of my own desires. It has made me dive deeper into His love letter to us, made me seek Him through podcasts and music, and transformed a stagnant prayer life into a daily conversation with Him. Infertility has taught me that my eternal Hope has already overcome it all. That this world, these moments, this life, is brief compared to what is ahead.
When I started this blog last year and was asked the gigantic task of creating a web address for the page, I chose “trials bring joy”. It stemmed from James 1:2-4 which says: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” Oh Lord, I am finally getting it. It took a while – but reflecting on this trial placed in front of me, and all the lessons learned from it, I can’t help but understand the phrase “trials bring joy” even more so now. It is possible for our most difficult times in life to be an opportunity to bring great joy.
I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone. But I do wish that everyone had the opportunity to go through a challenge, a trial, a journey, which results in building endurance. For when we go through fiery times in life, like silver being melted and transformed, we WILL come out more refined and polished. And for that I am thankful. I am thankful for this time of fire. I am thankful for a God who never leaves my side. I am thankful for YOU – for caring as deeply as you do. For the prayers of many and for the joy that is to come. I am FAR from perfect. I have good days and bad days. But what I have learned thus far has made an everlasting impact on my life.
So on that note, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving (and/or Thursday). Enjoy the day!
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” (Romans 8:18)
13 thoughts on “i’m thankful for …”
Infertility surely changes a person. I think that it made my marriage stronger too, compared to those living in a pink fluffy world. I can’t be as optimistic as you, but I’ll try. Please, don’t stop blogging ;)
Oh, and happy thanksgiving to you & your family ;)
Thanks you! That was exactly what I needed to hear today! Happy Thanksgiving to you, Josh and Cali.
You are AMAZING. Happy Thanksgiving! Your words inspire me so much xo
Happy Thanksgiving! I loved your post! I too am thankful for my infertility. It has enabled me to share His love, his hope, and the wonderful gospel to people who I would have never thought about sharing it with and it has also brought me closer to my Poppa God. It was not His will for me to have PCOS and struggle to conceive, but He is using what the devil meant for my harm for His glory…I will gladly go through anything the devil throws at me in order to bring God the glory and honor He deserves.
“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Magnificent, Chelsea. Truly. I am truly filled with admiration about where you have come to in your journey and perspective. I truly pray that I will able to say the same things you have said here today. I agree in my head, and I pray that God makes all of those truths living realities in my heart and life. Thank you for being an incredible example of what it looks like to walk through infertility with joy, hope, peace – and coming through stronger, closer to God and more content than ever. Your example has given me something to strive for in Him. I am just learning to be thankful ‘in’ infertility. I am still a long ways off for being thankful ‘for’ infertility. But I see in you that it is possible, and I pray that He will do the same thing in me. Thank you friend. (And thank you for your incredibly kind and generous offer. I will email you.) Big hugs! Happy Thanksgiving!
This is such a great post! I think we often focus only on the negatives of infertility but you did a great job of reminding us of the positives.
Hi Chelsea, I stumbled upon your blog when I experienced my miscarriage in September.
Let me tell you that you are such an inspiring person. I have never even met you, but your words really help me put things into perspective.
Thank you for sharing your journey– the ups, the downs, and everything in between. I hope and pray for your miracle.
yes Amen girl! I love this. I think when we focus on the negative then the enemy is getting his way! Love all of your list and so inspired by your heart!! It’s such a beautiful thing to see that you recognize all the blessing around you! Thankful for you!
I LOVE this. While I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone, I too, am SO grateful for the journey. It was during our time of TTC that I learned to truly give thanks in all circumstances, find real joy in the midst of sorrow, appreciate the things I did/do have, and my faith and relationship with my Savior was deepened in a way it couldn’t have been during any other time in my life so far. I know our Lord is doing great things in your life right now and I know His plans for you are better than you can even imagine or dream. (Ephesians 3:20)
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