These are the words that come to mind when I take myself back to the beginning of our journey to have a baby. When I take myself back to the moment of diagnosis. When I relive the despair of pregnancy test after pregnancy test coming back negative. When I remember the empty ultrasound screen and the whisper of my precious nurse saying, I'm so sorry. When I reach back to that painful memory tucked deeply away of waking up from the D&C to feel so empty and alone. Can you relate to any of these feelings?
Maybe your earth-shattering, life-changing event isn't from infertility, but from loss in another form - divorce, death, loss of a dream job, a diagnosis, etc. I think at some point in our lives, most of us can relate to some event or struggle that totally shifted the course of our life. Some painful moment in time that marks a definite turn in the road for us.
But I wouldn't trade my infertility for anything in the world. In fact, I'm unbelievably grateful for it now. All of those feelings were real, absolutely real, and hard. But they were only the first part of the story. I'm not going to give you some cliche "I'm grateful for my infertility because it gave me my beautiful girl" story. Of course I'm grateful for my little angel, but she is not why I'm grateful for my infertility.
I'm grateful because I found myself in the pain. I truly experienced the extremes of life and death and found the fight I had within me to keep pressing forward. I found my husband in the pain. Though we had been married for many years, it wasn't until our struggle did I begin to fully understand what a kind, loving, strong man of God he truly is. I'm grateful because of those handful of friendships that came along side and carried me through the absolute worst days. I never knew true friendship until the day I picked up the phone too broken and hurt to say much more than just hello and in return heard "I'm calling so you'll give yourself the chance to cry. I'm calling to cry with you. You don't have to say anything." That is love and friendship in it's most beautiful form.
I'm eternally grateful because I experienced God in a way I would have never experienced without the utter heart-break and fear of my future. My fear was the unknown of my future - I had to learn to let go of my future and put my hope in His future for me. I'm grateful because I learned that hope really is the anchor of the soul. I'm grateful because prayer and scripture became alive, truly alive, to me for the first time. I would pray for direction, for comfort, for purpose, for my desire for a baby to be taken away from me if that wasn't God's plan for me. And He answered me through His beautiful words that would show up literally everywhere. I'm grateful because you cannot be fully filled with the Spirit as long as you are still holding on to yourself. Complete surrender of oneself is a daily struggle, but I know what it feels like to be completely broken and surrendered and filled up to the brim with His Holy Spirit, so I fight for that now.
I'm grateful for the turn in the road I was on. I am fully confident that the fork in our road led us to a more fulfilled life with purpose. I'm confident our marriage is stronger and friendships are more solid than they would have been without the pain. I know I'm a much more patient, committed parent than I would have been. I'm grateful because I know how to be a better friend to those that are hurting now. I know that sometimes you don't need to say anything, you just need to cry along with a friend in their painful moment.
I'm grateful because God gave me a story to tell because someone out there needs to read or hear it, not for me, but to point them back towards a faith that can move mountains. I'm grateful because God is giving me the chance to shout from the rooftops that miracles still happen every single day! We just have to get outside of ourselves and look for them. He's there. Always providing. Always loving. Always directing. And always good.
I'm grateful because I now know that I praise Him because He is good, not because life is always good. But that when life isn't good, He is allowing it for a purpose much greater than myself. He will bring healing, restoration, comfort and peace. And for the chance to actually live that, to feel it, to breath it... I will always be grateful and ever-changed.
Those emotions at the beginning were only the first part of the story. I wouldn't trade my infertility now for anything because of how the story ends. When I think about my infertility now, the words that come to mind are:
I'm grateful because none of this is about me. It's about praising an almighty God who loves me just the way I am but loves me too much to leave me this way. It's about the chance to share Him with someone else through telling a simple story.
This is my story of gratitude in infertility. Throughout the month of November, you'll find a list of growing reasons for gratefulness in the middle of a tough struggle, not just from Jenny and myself, but from you, our readers, friends, and infertility sisters. We pray you are encouraged by the words you find there, by the reasons to hang on to gratitude for your infertility.
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.