Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The "I" word...and I don't mean Iowa!

The Declaration of Independence guarantees our right to life, to liberty, and to bear children. Ok…so maybe bearing children isn’t a right we have as Americans, but we can tend to think it is a right we have as humans. When 60 year old celebrities are fathering babies and 15 year old mall rats are mothering them, it is difficult to understand why something so seemingly simple for some can be so complicated for others.

In our trip down infertility lane, we were told by one of the nation’s best Centers for Reproductive Health that we fall into the 15% of couples who have “unexplained infertility.” At first, I didn’t want to hear that because I just wanted to know the problem and how to fix it…to be in control. But the words “unexplained infertility” were exactly the words I needed to hear.

I will write about my process of working through the emotions of infertility in steps, NOT because it is that easy and clear cut, but because it makes for easier reading.

Step 1 for me was getting down to the basics of life. What did “unexplained infertility” really mean? I searched my Bible for verses about life and was quickly reminded that infertility is not really “unexplained.” I am not in control of creating life and neither are the doctors…that miracle is reserved for God alone.
- In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? Job 12:10
- But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. 1Sam 1:5
- Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. Gen 30:22

Step 2 for me was about fairness. If God alone creates life, then why was He withholding that blessing from us? I remember asking God “You say in Your Word to be fruitful and multiply…how can I do that if You aren’t letting me?” This was especially difficult when I would see people who I thought (in my oh-so-wise-and-unjudgmental opinion--haha) seemed to be unfit parents. “Why them and not us?” There were moments of questioning if God was punishing me or being mean…but that is not how God operates.

Step 3 for me was focusing on God’s character.

First, He is wise and He is working out a plan that is much bigger than me and my life.
- For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Second, He is love; He is good; He is compassionate; He is caring.
- For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11

His plans are perfect and are always for His glory and for our good. This reminder allowed me to be able to see people who I mentioned in Step 2 and pray “God, I know you have allowed that child to be born to that family, and I pray that you will use that baby to draw the parents to You.”

Step 4 for me was knowing God in a more intimate way. Infertility is difficult. The emotions are difficult. The treatments are difficult. The decisions you make are difficult. But it is during difficult times that we tend to cry out to God, and He is always faithful to respond. It is almost as if He says to us, “Will you walk down this path with Me? It will be difficult, but I promise to be with you.” The Bible says that God is our Rock, but how can we know Him as our Rock if our knees are never wobbly and needing a place to rest? It says that He is our Peace, but how can we know Him as our Peace if we are never in the midst of turmoil? It says He is our Strength, but how can we know Him as our Strength if we are never weak?

God gives people various gifts with which to glorify Him. He is also glorified when we believe in Him, trust in Him, praise Him, love Him, etc. I believe that our infertility was indeed a gift because, through it, He was glorified and we were changed. And we have been blessed in ways that are almost inexplainable.

- Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:20, 21

I read an article about a young girl with a rough past whose prayer is that God will not allow her to be too comfortable because it is when she is not in her comfort zone that she clings to Him most. If we desire a life of ease, we will miss out on the amazing joy of watching God’s power work in and through our lives. We will miss out on the intimacy that comes from depending on Him for every need. And we will miss out on God's best for us.

By His grace I know that I am barren for His glory.


Andy & Rebecca said...

This was beautifully written and I so appreciate you sharing your heart. We haven't been down this road, but we are very close with 2 couples who are going through infertility struggles right now. It is a painful thing for them but they are such an example to me of faith. I can't imagine dealing with the pain & discouragement you, and they have faced WITHOUT knowing the grace of God and having faith in Him. I praise God that He has worked in your life through this, Tish. Whenever I've gone through difficult things in my life, I truly can look back on them and say that I was changed for the better through it. And it's not hard to see how God has blessed your life when you see those pictures of little Matthew, and realize that in His perfect plan, God meant for him to be your son.

Thank you again for sharing your heart, your thoughts & your faith. I appreciate you so much.


Glen and Andrea said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this wonderful post. It is comforting to me to read and I know I'll be back to read it over and over again. Infertility is a neverending struggle and the pain will never go away, there are so many questions surrounding it, but God is always there. It is hard to imagine God's plan for us, especially as it takes a lifetime to unfold, but we are in his everlasting arms and will never be let go.

jen said...

Beautiful post Tish! We also went through the unexplained IF and it is a multiple step process, but God was with us the whole way. As you, we now have the most precious baby boy and we cannot imagine what we did to deserve such an amazing gift from God! Sounds like our boys have a lot in common. Andy's poops are very stinky too! =) He loves to laugh and play. Matthew just keeps getting cuter and cuter - I love his adorable smile!


Sherry said...

You have got to have the best outlook on life girl:) That was a beautiful post!