I was stirring my coffee when my friend asked the question: “So how are you really right now?”
With the buzz of steaming milk and brewing espresso around me, I admitted my heart’s been a little weary. I touched on how 7 pregnancy announcements from good friends in 3 days drained me a bit. I tried to explain that while my heart was overjoyed for them, it made me a bit reflective of my own journey, which can be a hard, emotional path for me to walk down sometimes.
I could see in her eyes, as someone who doesn’t struggle with infertility, that she couldn’t quite grasp how someone could be happy for someone else but sad for themselves.
And that’s when this example hit me.
Let’s pretend that you and your spouse have decided it’s time to move from your small apartment. It’s time to expand! It’s not necessarily that you don’t like your current place, but you feel ready to embark into a new neighborhood, have the chance to mow a lawn, use a driveway, and have a little more space.
So you celebrate this big decision! You are going to sell your house! You tell your friends, you have a celebratory glass of champagne and list it. It’s time to sell!
Hmmmm. A few days, weeks, months pass. Why isn’t your house selling? You try to stay positive. Oh it takes time! You just have to wait for the perfect buyer! It can take couples almost a year before their house sells! Take a vacation – then it might sell!
In the meantime, friends around you decide they too want to sell their house and move. And you watch and celebrate as they immediately find buyers. It was our first showing! We hadn’t even listed it yet! A friend of a friend asked to buy our house! In fact, some of your friends who didn’t even take care of their apartment sell it right away. Huh?
What is going on, you asked yourselves. You paint the walls, freshen up the tile, and replace the old floors. And yet, months pass by and still, no buyers. Multiple showings, the promise of hope with each one, but a firm and audible NO after every one.
In the meantime, you’re invited to house warming party after house warming party to celebrate your friend’s new home. You are thrilled for them! What a beautiful new kitchen! Lawn! Bathroom! Is that a walk-in closet?? And you wonder what is wrong with our apartment??? You bring the wine, send the congratulations card, help move the boxes, all while dusting off your “for sale” sign. You pack away the towels you bought for a new bathroom. It hurts too much to look at them each day.
Do we try to get used to staying here forever? You begin to ask yourselves how you should approach this limbo. What does the future look like? Do you apply for that new position knowing it would be across town, near the city you want to move to? Do you redecorate the space and plan to stay there? Oh how your hearts yearn to be in a new place – and yet still, all the showings result in nothing. No. No. No. No. No. No.
So you hire a new realtor. The one who sold your friends house in just 1 day! And your heart breaks as he tells you that you may never sell your home. You see, because there’s this one part of the inside of a wall that is damaged. It’s not really your fault, but it’s your home and because of it, it may be a little harder to sell it.
How did I not know? What can we do to improve our chances?! He provides you with a list of things to do and you eagerly dive into them. You replace the trim, sweat over refinishing your floors; exhaust yourself with tearing out the old carpet. Still – nothing.
Meanwhile, you get the calls from your friends, We’re moving! We sold our house! It’s our 4th home in 3 years! And your feelings get hurt as some of your friends pull back from you as they are afraid to tell you they sold their house too. You find out when you get their Christmas card in the mailing with a preprinted announcement. Why didn’t they tell us? And yet still, you celebrate their new adventure, move the boxes, ‘like’ the Facebook announcement and wonder if you should take your house off the market. After all, it’s been 3 years.
Then 4 years. More announcements, more moves.
Then it’s been 5 years. You find some friends who too have a hard time selling their house, are stuck in limbo desiring a neighborhood, a closet, a stove with more than 2 burners, a chance to feel at home where they feel called. You relate to one another’s questions and empathize when yet another potential buyer decides to pass. Another lost chance, I am so sorry.
Then those friends who once understood, begin to sell their houses. More celebrations! And the conversations shift from questioning why your house can’t sell, to the frustrations of picking out paint colors for the new living room or the cost of the movers. They forgot what it’s like, you think. Then you no longer get together. I am sorry, I have a house now. There’s so much to do! More dusting, a garden to tend to, bathrooms to clean. Maybe when the house gets a little older.
And still every single morning you wake up, make your bed, clean the house, waiting for the moment you get a call about a showing. You can’t escape the fact that your house is for sale. It’s part of your daily life, reminders everywhere. The lockbox, the sign, the calls. Every day you are faced with the desires to hear the words “you’ve sold your house!”.
6 years pass. You switch realtors again, are given a dash of hope that this is the one! In fact, by this point you’ve had 7 offers on your home, but all of them have fallen through. It’s just been bad luck. This happens to many couples. There must have been a bank loan defect. Unpack your boxes, not this time. Don’t lose the faith!
More moving announcements from friends. We weren’t even thinking about moving but someone came to our door and offered us over market price for our house. And then we got an amazing deal on a new house – in the last lot of the neighborhood you were looking at! What are the chances? We were so surprised!
Housewarming party. Wine. Feelings of defeat. Questions. Did we misunderstand our calling to move? Everyone else thinks we are crazy, yet we continue to feel led is to sell this house. What do we do?
And now here you sit – with 7 more offers sitting on your home and you think this could be it and you are terrified. Everyone around is asking you aren’t you so excited? And while, yes, you are, the truth is you’ve been here before. You’ve had the offers and they’ve all fallen through. You’re hesitant to get your hopes up based on these new offers, knowing what happened last time. And so you smile, nod, and pray harder than ever that one of these offers takes. Because you don’t know if your heart can handle any more. Most days you want to rip down the ‘For Sale’ sign, ignore the aches in your heart, and chuck the lockbox in a volcano. You are now known as the couple who has always had their house up for sale.
Just be thankful you have a house to live in! Everyone around you, many who just sold their house, says to you, as if you aren’t thankful for your apartment. You want shout back that you are thankful, you just hate living in limbo, are struggling to figure out what your future looks like, and that you can’t ignore that nagging longing to become new-home owners.
And still you wait, feeling foolish about the day you drank champagne and told everyone you were going to sell your house. You never expected this.
You get the picture. And while this example may seem silly, can you only imagine having your house for sale for YEARS? I get exhausted just thinking about it. And, oh friends, if only infertility were this kind of exhausting.
With infertility, you take these exhausted, confused emotions and add in the immense deep rooted desire to be parents – moms and dads– and combine it with mind altering hormones, emotions, surgeries, and real life dollars. Every month offers hope that everything might change and when it doesn’t, you have to reprocess what you’re going to do next. Did you hear God right? Why isn’t He moving?
So while your heart is so thrilled for the others in your life who move onto the next stage – first, second, third pregnancies – it’s still very real there will be emotional struggles involved. With every announcement, pregnancy related conversation, baby shower and tiny babies around, it reminds you of the current state of limbo you are in. And with God-given strength, you celebrate the answered prayers, clinging to the hope that next time it might be you, and rejoice that God gave them a miracle. And it’s okay if you still wonder why not me?
Friends, I don’t know why your baby hasn’t come yet. I don’t understand why a 15-year old accidentally becomes pregnant and you can’t get a positive test to save your life. I wish I understood all the specifics. But here’s what I do know – God knows why. And while that can be hard to understand most days, it offers reassurance that we don’t have to be the ones understanding the ‘whys’. We just have to continue to trust the One who does.
I wrote these words in In the Wait and needed to be reminded of them today: “God is not early or late with His timing. Instead, He is right on cue, creating “Ah-ha!” moments when the answers prayers finally come. Yes, it may look different than we expect it to, but we know He will pull through. Scripture reminds us that we can trust Him to stay true to His Word, character and promises. His love is always present. Breathe out a deep sigh with me today and rest assured knowing He is at work, even when we don’t see it.”
I know it’s tiring my sweet friend. But make that bed one more day, accept one more showing, and continue to communicate with the Lord. You never know when you are going to wake up and have your whole life change in one moment. That day of answered prayer is worth the fight.
Lord, I pray for each woman reading this today who understand what it’s like to be stuck waiting. I pray that you renew our strength, our minds, and replenish our weary souls as we wait. We trust that you have the perfect plan for our lives and we ask that you would help strengthen us to continue to celebrate the victories and answers to prayer that you are providing to those around us. Jesus, we simply need more of you to help lead us into the perfect path for our lives. Amen
*photo from weheartit.com
34 thoughts on “house for sale.”
Oh my, friend. Are you inside my mind? I literally cannot connect with this more right now. I am so on the struggle bus and while I wish you weren’t on that bus with me, gosh, I feel so much less alone after reading this today. Sending lots of hugs and love your way!
Love you Ash … Hate too that you can relate but know one day we will be off this stupid bus. Hugs and prayers sent your way today too!
What a good analogy!! Sharing this right now! Thanks for this perspective that hopefully as others read, they will be able to understand your journey better. I sure do!
What a wonderful perspective! Thank you for sharing!
Chelsea, i love the wisdom God pours to us through you. So well put. Blessings
More than a wonderful analogy. Far more and so well written. Prayers for you and the family you already are and the family you will be.
It’s a nice example. And 7 in 3 days???!!! Oh my god, i would have turned my phone and everything off^^
“Why am I crying about selling a house?” That’s what my mind was thinking while reading this. Thanks Chels. You always knows the right words to help for comfort. I hope you have people in your life that inspire the comfort you do for all of us. 💚
So well written! This too describes our current wait. Thank you so much for illustrating our emotions & heartache through infertility. And Amen! …For your prayers & reminding us all that our Sovereign God is in control.
You always post the right thing at the right time. I’m so thankful for your willingness and dedication to this blog!! Xoxo
I swear we are besties, you write most of what I am thinking and this post if no different. Kicking the funk is the hardest part, I am overjoyed at the happiness, but seven time, 7?! OH Lord :) prayers, hugs and sunshine your way.
This was beautiful and very easy to relate to. I don’t think I’ll get back my 30s of ttc. Good luck with the seven offers!
Such a great analogy, although it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the longing that goes with wanting a family. It’s so deep, so full and so dang hard. I can’t believe you handled 7 baby announcements recently. That is SO hard. I might be pregnant after years of trying but I haven’t forgotten the pain and the longing. Hugs and prayers for you today friend!
Love this post so much! Totally understood every single word in this post. Thanks for this :)
This was beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking. I so appreciated this post. I know it makes me (and many others) feel less alone in this experience. I admire your resilience and faith.
yes yes yes and amen. I HATED feeling like the elephant in the room when I didn’t ask for it. But years and years of watching other people sell their houses “like that” and all the “offers” we had on ours (the stillborns was like they backed out right before signing). This blog is right on. All the more to say that WHEN you sell your house, the victory will be that much sweeter. I totally get your fears, but I also hope with you in your little hopes. We ended up doing PGS on our last 6 frozen embryos. 3 were normal. 1st one didn’t take, 2nd one did. The odds are really really high (especially when you add in Jesus ;)
This is a great analogy. Thanks for reminding us all that we are not alone (HUGS)
Thank you for being honest and open with this. Love love this. It was a relieve that I’m not the only one. Thank you!
Thank you for writing this. It can be so challenging trying to explain the longing of the wait to those who have never experienced it.
Loved this analogy! Put into words everything I feel, but can’t put into words. I have enjoyed following your journey and wish you the best in the coming months. Hugs!
I love this!
Oh Chelsea’s! I just love this post and your analogy. Thank you for sharing!
I love this analogy. And I have friends who are actually in that same boat (wanting to buy a house) who just don’t get how I feel.
Yes! You are so right. That’s the best way to explain what this all feels like to those who haven’t been there.
Reblogged this on Random Ramblings and commented:
A great analogy for infertility. Well said, Chelsea!
Love this. Simply love this!
Thank you so much for this post. I’m at the cabin for the whole week with family and friends, and struggling with the feelings you mentioned. I feel like I should be an expert in patience by now, as my husband and I have been waiting for 7 years.
I appreciate your openness and your words that help me feel connected to other people experiencing a similar struggle.
I wish you many blessings, Sarah
Sent from my iPhone
This is truly an amazing way to explain the frustration that is infertility… thank you, I needed this!
Thank you for putting so eloquently into words what I have been unable to fully express. I wish none of us had to go through this, but it helps knowing we’re not alone and I’m not (entirely) crazy. God bless you!
It never gets any easier! I too try to put infertility into a different context so that people can kind of understand, but they will never truly get it. That’s a blessing for them that they probably do not even realize. Sending you good thoughts <3