"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Prov 19:18
I have been thinking lately about our years of infertility. A couple we know is struggling to get pregnant. Whenever I hear of someone I know, or even someone I don't know, going through that same struggle we experienced for so many years my heart breaks. I remember the pain and sorrow. The constant monthly grieving. The confusion and hopelessness. It was not good.
You put on a brave, happy face and keep going through the day to day of your life because you realize you can't just give up on life and become one with the couch. But you aren't sure you are living. You are really just going through the motions. Because nothing in life makes sense. And the overwhelming sense of powerlessness you suddenly realize you have over any aspect of your life is more than you can comprehend.
Other people seem to be able to do whatever they want. They plan their life, they plan when they will have children and it all falls right into line exactly the way they planned. But you can't get pregnant and that was not in your plan. And there is no willing it to happen. There is nothing you can DO. I mean you can try lots of different things, you can pursue lots of medical options but ultimately there is this realization that life really is not created by man's will but by God's and clearly he is not on your side when it comes to this. And you can't seem to make Him change his mind. And you want to hate God for it but really, what does that get you? You believe, you don't believe, you are mad, you are happy, you still won't get pregnant without Him.
AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! This is a good time for a big tantrum. It feels good but still changes nothing.
It has been 18 years since we last used birth control and 8-1/2 years since God blessed us with Isabelle and finished our family. So I have had a little time to gain some perspective on this topic. And one thing I have seen is that the lessons I learned going through infertility have helped me with other challenges in my life and have helped me to understand other people who are struggling not just with infertility but with any challenge that makes you feel powerless and takes away your dreams.
When people are struggling we tend to feel uncomfortable with them. We are uncomfortable with other people's grief. So we try to say things to make them feel better, which so often actually makes them feel worse. (Helpful hint: If your friends have been trying to get pregnant for 3 or maybe 6 months, suggesting looser underwear and cold showers might be helpful. If they have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years and are seeing specialists, it is insulting.)
People grieve. Jesus wept in front of Lazarus' tomb even though he knew he was going to raise him from the dead. Life is hard and it is OK to experience the emotions of the moment. We can still grieve and believe that God will give us a child or whatever other desire of our heart is currently unmet. It is OK to struggle.
We can trust God. Recently I was thinking about the idea of having the "mind of Christ". It is a Christian saying that we throw around but, what does it mean? It sounds godly so when someone says they are having the mind of Christ on something we just nod our heads because it sounds good and spiritual. I started thinking about what it means and while I don't know what it means to other people, what it means to me is to have an eternal perspective. While I can only know what is going to happen at this very moment, Christ is concerned with eternity. So while he understands that we want a child RIGHT NOW, he also knows what we need for eternity. The growth and reliance on Him that infertility will bring, the perfect child that he has waiting for us at the perfect moment. The plan. Our story which will be like no one else's story. And again, not just a truth in infertility but for any area of your life where you are struggling to see God's plan.
Today I can see in our family how God's plan was perfect for us. We got to have Jake alone for several years of his childhood before Isabelle came along. A blessing for us all. Then we got to meet and bring Sam and Lauren into our family along with Isabelle. We have a daughter we adore and her birth parents and sister as a bonus which we are blessed beyond words by. At no point ever in my life would I have made this plan, could I have seen what a blessing, joyful and loving experience this would be. And because of the pain we suffered through infertility we have been able to love others who are struggling and process new trials as they have come our way. Not that we don't still grieve and struggle but we know we will make it through and we know Christ's plan will be infinitely better than ours.
If you are struggling today I don't want you to read this and hear, "stop struggling", "don't worry be happy". If you are in the midst of struggling go ahead and grieve. It SUCKS. Nothing changes that. But I hope this gives you hope that eventually, in ways you can't see right now, it will get better. God will redeem this moment and bring you joy and completion beyond what you could dream. Keep going.