Today we are honored to share another one of our Grateful for Infertility submissions by Rebekah. I know so many of your will relate to her story and the song of her heart. I pray you will be touched as she shares finding the key of learning to truly be thankful for what God allows in our lives, not just tolerate it. Whether our trial comes through infertility or something else, that's the key isn't it? Realizing that if God is allowing a set of circumstances, we have to learn to be thankful for it, not just tolerate it, because it is for His glory and our best interest. Please join me in welcoming Rebekah to ONSEL today. I know so many of your will relate to her story and to finding the beauty of God's time and His ways in our seasons of barrenness.
She is now a mother to one little girl, who writes about her experience of finding the beauty of God through the barren soul at her site Barren to Beautiful. There, she writes about facing infertility, God and the joys of realistic motherhood. Today she is sharing a beautiful piece with us about the day she stopped being barren. You can read more of this story here.
It had been almost two years since I flung that round disk of pills like a Frisbee into the trash can. Almost two years of charting periods, fluids, temperatures, and anger.
And it was starting to wear on us. The climax of every 28 days waiting to find out if “this month is different." Only to be disappointed by the regular flow of blood, or a negative pregnancy test that doesn't magically turn to positive after it’s tossed in the trash can. (I always checked. Just in case.)
Most of my friends were on baby #2 or #3. But I was barren. And no one knew why. It seemed so easy for everyone else. (Especially those teenage girls pushing their strollers down the street.) But not for me, not for us. It felt as if my husband and I stood still; frozen, while the whole world kept rushing past us.
Some months I was full of faith. “In faith..” I’d declare, “I am NOT buying tampons..because I am trusting this month I won’t need them!” (Only later to go out and have to buy the overpriced ones at the gas station down the road.) Darn.
Then one day, it happened. (No..not pregnancy.) All this time God was trying to capture my heart (all of it), and I remember the day He did.
Sometimes that happens. You’re not even looking for it. It's like swimming with your eyes closed and smacking your forehead off the side of the swimming pool.
Of all places I was sitting in my classroom, listening to an online episode of “Adventures in Odyssey” with my 5th grade students while they finished coloring their homemade storybooks. And the next thing I knew, I was enthralled in this story about a woman who had become blind by an "accident." She said for years she “tolerated” what God had allowed in her life, but she never was thankful for it. But over the years, she learned how to actually thank God for what He allowed in her life. "Blindness" is what He determined was for her greatest good---so she embraced it with both arms, and thanked Him.
As I listened, I began to hear something through those animated voices--I heard the Holy Spirit. Suddenly, specifically, intimately. That line, "For so long 'tolerating,' but never 'thanking' God for what He was doing." I was cut to the heart. If God decided I should not be pregnant then, or ever, who was I to say His plan was not good?
I ducked behind my computer and wiped away tears and bitterness. Who was I to quarrel with my Maker?
That was the day, this very small seed began to grow in me. A seed of gratitude. Instead of fighting Him tooth and nail over His plan, I began to thank Him. Begrudgingly at first, but then genuinely. Praying things like: Thank You that You know my body better than I do, and maybe you’re protecting me from something my body cannot handle. Thank you I don’t have to go through morning sickness. Or weight gain. Or (the dreaded) labor. Thank You for no stretch marks! Or a flabby stomach! Or flabby arms! (Ok..maybe my list was slightly vain and trivial..but it was sincere.)
But for the first time, I began to realize maybe God had a different purpose for me, for my husband. Began to think of the extra time we would have together. What this might allow us to do. It was the working of a real miracle in me: I stopped envying all my friends who were moms. Stopped wanting other women’s lives. And I started thanking God that He had a unique calling on me. I kept my focus on the few things He had entrusted me with, (like loving my husband, and taking care of our home, and my job) and tried to do those well.
That seed was growing in me. Life was beginning to fill me. I stopped seeing all the EMPTY in my life. Started seeing how full it was. Overflowing. Joyful. Unique. And God became close, intimate, and sovereign over this, over me. For the first time: I stopped demanding with clenched fists--and started worshiping with open hands.
As I was leaving work one day, a new song entered my mind, my spirit. I just remember words were coming, and I wanted to sing them. I remember jotting them down on pink Post-It notes…and crashing down at my piano the moment I arrived home. It was like this cry was coming out of me, I did not know if it was happy or sad, or something else I had never felt. But I started singing it there at my piano, singing the words off my sticky-notes.
Tears fell over the keys. And a new chord was struck that day, within me. One that had not been played before. I was waiting for a baby to fulfill what only God could. The Life I was longing for was only in Him all along.
And I was no longer barren. No longer sad. My soul was full, brimming, overflowing with joy. Gratitude. I was thankful, fruitful. Surrendered. Connected to the Vine. No longer dying..but living. And for the first time…in a very long time: content.
About one month later, we were watching a movie and I was scarfing down a bowl of Oreo Birthday Cake ice cream, when I realized I finally had to pee. I had picked up a pregnancy test like I had many other times, and this was nothing new. My period was late..but that didn't mean anything. This had happened before..to no avail. “Do you want me to pause it?” My husband called as I darted up the stairs. “Noo!” I shouted down. No expectations. I was just going to be content to "not be pregnant." I peed on the stick and waited, refusing to look at it. Furiously praying as I always did, “Lord. Please let me be at peace with whatever the result is!” I took a deep breath. Opened my eyes. And to my shock read, “Pregnant.”
I shook my head as if to clear it. “Pregnant?” Pregnant. My mind started racing a million miles per hour. "Brandon!!!" I shouted for my husband to come upstairs. I had no words. I just shoved the pee soaked stick into his hands. And he read it. Speechless. Our eyes met. Locked. And we started laughing. “What?!” Hugging. Staring at it. “Do you think it’s right?!” We’re crying. Collapsing on the bed. Locking onto one another. Could this be real?
And suddenly, the realization, the rush of warmth—God. He did this. Exactly how He wanted to: In His time, in His way.
A series for people who are grateful for infertility? Sounds crazy right! But it's not... what was once a phase of life marked by heartache and longing, has now become the scars that make us beautiful. Some of you reading this are right in the middle of your wait, are facing an unclear future or have been scarred by infertility. You may be struggling with how you could possibly be grateful for infertility. It took us a long time to get there ourselves. This is one of those areas where sometimes our faith has to guide us while our hearts and heads catch up. We have to practice thankfulness, even when it makes little sense, while God does His divine work on our souls.