I turned thirty this week. For me, birthdays come with an increase in introspection, but this birthday came unexpectedly with some grief. This year, rather than rejoicing over another year and a new decade of life, my thoughts swam with I-wish-I-could-have's and I-thought-by-now-I-would-have's. I thought by now we would have a family, my arms filled with littles. I wish I could be living overseas. I'd hoped we could settle and buy a house. I thought by now we'd have a little more figured out.
Even when I am bowed down by the weight of this world's brokenness (and my own), even when I see no way to fix my current situation or the world's fragile and hopeless state, I can look to my God, who sees all, who controls all, and who cares deeply about it all. Even when it seems like there is no hope for goodness in this world, even then he is actively working towards the redemption and restoration of it all.
Infertility is the singular most difficult and lonely things I have yet to walk through. And that's one of the reasons why I've chosen to write about it. Because I know there are women (and men) in similar seasons of grief and waiting. And because I hope that the Lord somehow uses my words to meet you in this difficult place. So here is a jumbled assortment of some honest thoughts I've had [a stream-of-conscience-type-assortment], as well as some things I have sought to hold onto as I've tried to walk through this journey of infertility well. I pray my words would help you to feel known and remind you that even in the midst of your pain, there is hope.
I've been holding a lot of hopes this year. A lot of expectations of what I had hoped 2020 would hold (a church, a baby, a home). At the same time I've been seeking to learn how to hope in a way that is true and brave and not fearful. Trying to not allow disappointment to make me hesitant to hope. The Advent season somewhat intensified these feelings, as I felt the expectation of this time of year.
"Don't jinx it," I say to myself, "Don't get your hopes up. Don't think about it too much. Don't plan on it happening because then it won't happen." I find that when it comes to hope, my hopes range wildly between incredibly naively high to buried so low that they're practically non-existent. I have such a hard time finding an appropriate balance of hoping.
It's a little surreal, seeing something we've hoped for for the last two years become a tangible reality. But I won't lie, there have been days where it has been hard to hope for good things (about this church and about many other things). So this post is about hope and how hope can feel impossible. But also how hope is exactly what we're guaranteed in the Christian life.
When it comes to my walk with God, most of my doubts and spiritual struggles come down to the question "Am I really believing that God is who he says he is?" This question seems to come up again and again as I struggle through the ups and downs of life.
Someone asked me yesterday if I had any resolutions for the new year. I hesitated a bit before I told them "no." But, I told them, it’s not because I haven’t thought about it.
Grief can feel exceptionally heavy and lonely. It can lead us to cry out in confusion, "God, where are you?" It can feel natural, and oftentimes easier, to follow this spiral of despair. But it's here that we must turn our lament heavenward.
In fall the aspens' tiny leaves turn an unbelievably brilliant yellow, fluttering like a thousand little coins. Stripes of gold and orange flash by the window as you drive. Splotches of yellow splashed across the sides of mountains, making the mountainside look like it’s on fire. I've always loved the changing of seasons; the shift in temperature signaling that something new is coming.
As I consider my own treasured desires and dreams, my heart longs for God to tell me that I can keep them. That I can wrap them up in my hands and hold them tightly. That I can count on the assurance that these hopes will come to pass, that these gifts will stay in my hands forever…
But is that ever promised?
Has God promised to keep me safe? To keep my reputation clear and untarnished? Has he promised me children and a home and financial stability? To make my hopes and dreams come to fruition?
After His death, Christ's disciples were heartbroken and terrified.
Their Messiah had died.
The one they thought was going to save them had died on a cross like a common criminal. All hope had been lost. Their life, their plan, their hopes... everything died with Him.
How do you articulate to fellow believers, to people who look to you as a "strong Christian woman," that only weeks ago you sat on your bathroom floor, barely able to breathe except to utter the words to God or whoever might be listening, "why don't you love me?"
Sometimes it is so hard to follow and love You in the midst of a broken world and a broken me.
Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn’t have to feel the pain of a world and people without You.
Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn't realize the extent of my own sin.
You know that feeling when you literally have no idea how something is going to work out? When you know there's a "next step" that's coming but you have no idea what it is? When the deadline to have things figured out is just a month (or a week) away? When people ask you "what's next" and you can't answer because it feels like there's just this big black empty void of a black hole ahead of you that will swallow you if you get too close?