This week I was asked to guest post (a new thing for me!) in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, and it was a real joy and honor to spend a couple of hours writing my story out for this purpose. It is always beautiful when I feel like God is just giving me specific words to say and a particular message to share with His people, especially those who are suffering. May the Lord be praised, and may His people be encouraged by what I can share of the story He has written for my family.
Snippets and teasers until you pop over here to read my story yourself:
One of the big things about “infertility awareness” is the whole idea that we aren’t all completely aware of what infertility is. We may not know how to define it. We may not understand what it’s like. We may have no real idea who is affected by it. And that’s one of the interesting things about my story, my angle on infertility—at first glance, you may well not think of my story as one of infertility. And that’s why my story, and others like mine, are told, especially during times like National Infertility Awareness Week—to help open eyes, advance knowledge and understanding, to nurture fellowship and empathy amongst women who so often suffer in misunderstood silence.
This is my story, that God wrote for me before I was created in secret (Psalm 139:15-16)—the story that He reveals to me chapter by chapter, that I live out before Him by faith, that I don’t completely understand but that I embrace because I know He is good. I recognize that my life, my joys and my suffering, is for the purpose of glorifying Him (1 Peter 4:12-13, 5:10).
All of a sudden a new chapter of the story of my life was unfolding. It was unlovely and unfamiliar. It felt cold and harsh. Its very essence was isolating and debilitating. I cried myself to sleep so many nights, and found it hard to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. I had a living son—my womb had managed to produce life before! And, thus far, it had never taken more than two cycles of trying to conceive before the Lord filled my womb. How could infertility become part of my reality?
Whether we are facing another chapter—or perhaps simply an interlude—of uRPL in our family or not, we have realized that we just don’t know what the chapters in our story are going to look like; we can’t predict their endings; we may not always understand the storyline as we’re going through it (and maybe not even when looking back). But infertility will always be part of our story, as God has used it to shape us and use us in ways we would not have otherwise been used in His Kingdom.
If you look at my family picture, you probably would not automatically think, “I wonder if that family has ever struggled with infertility?”—which is just another reminder for us in the midst of National Infertility Awareness Week that we really are unaware of so much about infertility, its effects, its forms, its reach. My arms are both full and empty. I have children on earth, but more children who reside in the glories of heaven. I know the miracle of getting BFPs (that’s infertility-speak for “big fat positive” which is code for a positive pregnancy test), but I also know the depth of anguish that comes from my naïveté being stolen and understanding that being pregnant does not necessarily mean I am having a baby.
And that is one of the reasons why I feel God calls me to speak out about it, to share in others’ similar journeys, to offer words of encouragement and empathy on this path, so that others can share in the comfort of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:4) which He has offered to me through these locust-eaten years (Jonah 2:25) as well, even as He continues to reveal my own story to me little by little.