When you let God's light shine in your life, He will reveal its beauty.
Monday, October 29, 2012
My Journey from Infertility to Incredibly Grateful
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN IN 2012 WHEN I WAS ASKED TO SPEAK TO A MOMS GROUP. SINCE THIS POST, I'VE BEEN BLESSED WITH ANOTHER CHILD! GOD IS SO GOOD AND IS USING ME TO ENCOURAGE MOMS EVEN THOUGH I NEVER THOUGHT I'D BE ONE. PRAYING THAT YOU WILL BE ENCOURAGED BY THIS POST NO MATTER WHAT YOU'RE WAITING FOR IN YOUR OWN LIFE!
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28
My Family--I am so grateful...incredibly grateful!
I hated everyone who was pregnant.Experiencing infertility was one of the most difficult, challenging, frustrating, depressing and life-changing times of my life, but because God is so good, He used what satan intended to end my life to forever change and greatly bless my life.
Growing up, I was taught that I could accomplish anything—all I had to do was set a goal and work hard to accomplish that goal.I feel very blessed for all of the opportunities that I have had through prayer and hard work.In my eyes, though, my worth to God and to my family was through my accomplishments.My view of God was that I had to be good to be loved by Him.My relationship with God was very close in grade school, junior high and high school, because I was “good.”I made good choices, so God loved me---- at least that’s what I thought.Once I got to college and starting making bad choices, I believed that I wasn’t good in God’s eyes anymore, and, therefore, did not deserve God's love.I felt full of shame and guilt and began to let that create a distance between me and God, and when that happened, everything in life seemed so impossible. I let that distance last for more than 17 years, and it is no surprise that those 17 years were the darkest of my life.I still prayed and talked to God, but I always felt that I wasn’t good enough to receive His blessings.I felt that He had much better people to spend His time on, and so the distance grew. I let satan lie to me, and I listened. I believed everything he told me. I believed that God didn't love me anymore. I believed that I was alone in all my struggles. This was a very dangerous place to live. It wasn't until my husband and I started trying for a family that I realized just how dangerous...
It was early January of 2003, and I was 29 years old. Brad was 30. We had been married for three years at the time. We weren't very enthusiastic about having kids but we figured that we should at least start trying since we weren't getting any younger. That's why it was so easy at first to have the mind set that if it was meant to happen, it will happen when it’s supposed to happen. We had no idea how long it would take nor how difficult it would be! Soon we had been trying unsuccessfully for one whole year...so I started tracking my cycle...then two years...so I started taking my temperature every morning ...then three years. And let me tell you, all the tracking, temping and timing was really sexy, I'm sure. lol!
What was happening? I was so confused. In those 3 years, I quickly became bitter and hateful and depressed.We had gone through all of the medical tests and nothing was wrong, so in my mind, it was so obvious that God was punishing me and that I just simply was not good enough to be blessed with a child.I was used to accomplishing the goals that I set for myself, so I wasn’t prepared to handle this. I felt like a total failure. I felt lost and completely alone.I did pray about it, but I felt that God didn’t care about me and that He wasn’t listening.I had no one to talk to who understood. Brad didn't know what to tell me anymore. My mom couldn't relate and none of my friends could relate because they all got pregnant the second they tried.Everyone around me was getting pregnant, and I hated them all! Everywhere I looked were pregnant women, baby strollers, minivans, diaper bags, and babies, babies, babies! I couldn't get away from it! AAAAAHHHHH! It was just too much to take. Why was everyone around me more deserving of this than me? What was so wrong with me that I couldn't get pregnant? I was consumed by this.It was all I could think about or talk about.Soon, I was so low that I couldn’t even get out of bed. I would literally sleep the entire day because I didn't want to even see another pregnant person. I cut myself off from many friends and family because I couldn't handle another person telling me she was pregnant.I had so many friends who had 2 babies before I was even able to get pregnant with one.It felt so unfair. I was so angry!
In fact, I was a teacher at the time and 11 women in my school were pregnant…11!!!! They were all around me with their fat bellies and their complaints about being pregnant, and I hated all of them for complaining about something that I would gladly take on.Once a very positive person, I became hateful and resentful and I didn’t even recognize myself.I hated myself for feeling the way I felt and I hated anyone who was pregnant.Satan had me, and I didn’t even see it! I was trapped in a pit of self-pity and self-loathing, and it was one that I felt I couldn't escape. The thought that I would never get to be a mother was unbearable.The thought that Brad would regret marrying me because I couldn’t provide him with a child was unbearable.The thought that I couldn’t even be happy for ANYONE who was pregnant was just unbearable.The thought that I made my whole family feel uncomfortable because I was such a wreck was just unbearable.And so I thought that everyone would just be better off without me.WHOA!That’s when I knew that I needed some serious help.
As soon as those thoughts entered my mind, God began to intervene in big ways by putting it in my heart that I needed to go to counseling, and so He led me to my counselor, Dr. Dan. And because I didn’t believe that fertility treatments were right for me, He also led me to my acupuncturist, Dr. Joy. I decided to get serious about this, and I told my acupuncturist to tell me what I needed to do.She said I needed to quit drinking alcohol---done, what else?She said I needed to change my diet and take herbs---done, what else?She said I couldn’t drink any caffeine or carbonated beverages---done and done, what else?She said I needed to eat meat---which was difficult for me to take because I had been a vegetarian for about 5 ½ years at that point, so that one took me a while, but I did it and I haven’t looked back (dang--meat is so good)---so done, what else?She said I needed to exercise and do yoga---easy-- done, what else?She said, I needed to give up chocolate----I have to do WHAT?But I did it, and I actually ended up giving up chocolate for 5 years.(I eat it now and I’m loving it, so don't worry! J) But that’s not all God wanted me to clean out of my life.He also highlighted other junk that I needed to get rid of…my hatefulness, my resentfulness, my stubbornness, my ungratefulness.God worked on these things through my counselor. Dr. Dan helped save my life. He was able to help me make sense out of my feelings; remove the guilt and shame I felt; and refocus my negative thinking to be more positive about life, about others, about God and about myself. He helped me to get me back! I'll never forget the very eye-opening assignment Dr. Dan once gave me. He asked me to write down what I thought about myself—when I look back at the words I wrote, it terrifies me. Here was my list: old, dried up, loser, alone, old hag, depressed, fearful, barren, hateful, resentful, useless, worthless, I have no purpose.Oh how satan loved this. Oh how saddened God must have felt that His daughter saw herself this way, and so I know that God worked through my acupuncturist and my counselor to make me a healthier person; a better person both inside and out.
Every week for over a year, I would drive 2 hours round trip to first go to my counselor where I would leave emotionally exhausted and then go to my acupuncturist where I would leave physically drained because I would lie face down on the table and count 42 needles being stuck various places all over my body including 6 inch long ones stuck in the back of my knees and in the sides of my butt. It makes me cringe just thinking about it. And every week for over 52 weeks, I would lie there crying...pleading to God..."Please, God, let this be worth it!!!" All the while doubting that He was listening or even cared.
And in May of 2007, after 8 months of acupuncture and counseling, after 8 months of not eating chocolate, after hours in the car, after exhausting counseling appointments, after over a thousand needles poking into my body, I thought it was all worth it when I finally got pregnant! I couldn't believe it. I was shocked and excited. Unfortunately though, the excitement was very short-lived. At 6 weeks along which was only 2 days after I found out I was pregnant, I miscarried. It was awful. I didn't get out of bed for days and days. My husband didn't know what to do or say anymore. I thought I couldn't ever feel worse. Oh, I could. In August, my 10 year old miniature schnauzer, Sophie, who I always called "my baby", unexpectedly passed away.
I couldn’t believe that God would take away 2 babies from me in just a couple of months!Why would He want to see me suffer like this?Why is He continuing to punish me? Oh, Father, forgive me for ever thinking this about You!
I now know that it was only through the grace of God and the love and support of my family that I made it through. After that summer, I continued to go to counseling. I continued to go to acupuncture. I started to get out of bed. I started to spend more time with my husband, my family and my friends. I began enjoying life more.I began to find happiness and laughter that I hadn't felt in a long time, and I began to feel God’s presence and peace. I began to feel that my life would be ok. I began to feel hopeful. Hopeful that I may still become a mom someday. Hopeful that even if I was not able to conceive again that God would give me a baby another way. God gave me the strength to get through the pain and the losses and He also gave me the courage to open up to my family, my husband and my friends and make those relationships even closer! I sought forgiveness from those who I hurt during that dark time. I began to heal, and I began to focus my energy on appreciating and being grateful for all that I did have instead of focusing so much on what I didn't. Brad and I even started talking more seriously about adoption, and I began to trust God with whatever He had planned for my life. And wouldn't you know as soon as I gave it all up to our Father, it was then that God blessed me with another pregnancy. It was October of 2007--nearly 5 years after we first starting trying. And this was it! This was my baby! Although I had some underlying fear that I would lose this pregnancy too, I still enjoyed every second of being pregnant! I loved everything that went along with it...EVERYTHING! I seriously loved it all, and I was so incredibly thankful the entire time, and on July 21st, 2008, after 27 hours of labor and an emergency C-Section, I gave birth to my beautiful boy, Benjamin Alan! It was the greatest moment of my life!
I tell Ben every day what a special gift from God that he is, and that before he came along, I thought I would never be a mommy. I tell him what an amazing surprise that he was, and that I love that God chose to give him to me! I love my boy so much. I am so grateful to be a mom! It has been the most rewarding, wonderful (though challenging too), beautiful part of my life! I know that God didn't give me infertility, but He sure used that experience to change my life. God really does make all things GOOD, and so not only did He bless me with my sweet baby boy, but He also gave me my precious little girl, Abigail, three years later. He gave me a family that I thought I would never have, but He gave me even more than that.
He made me more appreciative; more content; more giving; more loving; more forgiving of myself and of others, and he made me more grateful...incredibly grateful! He made me more than I ever thought I could be. Praise God! But He also taught me more. He taught me that His love is unconditional; He taught me about His grace and forgiveness; He taught me about who He really is; He taught me about trusting Him with my life's path; He taught me how to be more of the person that He created me to be; He taught me His love is not about my accomplishments; He taught me that His timing is perfect; and He taught me that everything that I went through was all worth it! Whew! Did I have a lot to learn or what? And the best part is that I'm still learning.
I know that this may sound weird, but I am so thankful for infertility. Without that darkness, I wouldn't be the person I am today living in the Light I'm living in today. God pulled out every ounce of good during those years to make me a better mom, wife, friend and human being!I know that God is not done with me yet and I praise Him for loving me so much and putting gratefulness back into my heart!
This week, I want to pray for you! If you're going through infertility, I want to encourage you. In Genesis 1:28, God said "Be fruitful and multiply." so we know that God wants to bless us with children. Keep believing. Keep being hopeful. No matter what challenge that you're going through right now, I want to remind you that God is always good! The bible tells us, "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." Nahum 1:7 It's really that simple. We must trust God and
press in to Him and His truth and be completely deaf to the lies of satan. Satan nearly caused me to take my life and I quiver at the thought of all that I would have missed out on, so I beg you to listen to God's voice. Follow God's direction. If you need to get help, ask. If you need counseling, go. If you need prayer, pray! God’s goodness will always prevail! God will always give us more, teach us more and grow us more than we ever expected. I would like to leave you with three helpful and profound questions from the book, Crafted Prayer by Graham Cooke, that God showed me to encourage a very dear friend that God has a wider purpose for anything that we are going through in our lives.
1. What is it that God wants to be for me now that He could not be at any other time?
2. What is God doing in me to make me more like Jesus?
3.What else is God doing through me to the people around me as I go through these circumstances?
I pray you can ask yourself these questions about your situation and God will show you His bigger picture for you too! May God bless you, protect you, and show you how much He loves you and help you to be incredibly grateful every day!
What has God taught you through a struggle you have gone through or are going through?
**Dedicated to all of the women who have struggled with infertility or who are struggling. To those who have struggled, please share your story. To those who are in the midst of the struggle, please don't give up. Even now, God continues to give me more from this struggle. He has blessed me with opportunities to share my story with others and even pray for and encourage other couples and women struggling with infertility. I praise God for continuing to allow me to bless others and I give God ALL of the glory! Please allow me to pray for you too. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
Here is my crazy family now. What a blessing! What miracles. God is so good!