We declared 2016 to be the year of the baby. With all of our hopes, prayers, and efforts, we were determined that this would be the year we celebrate an addition to our family. After a two-year break from meds and appointments, we decided it was time to go back to the fertility doctor. We had more tests done, surgery, three rounds of intense hormone treatments, three IUI’s, more waiting, and last week we found out our final treatment of the year failed.
2016 went by and we have no baby.
We were stunned, shocked, confused, sad, frustrated, and stuck. We’re stuck with what’s next for us. Where do we go from here? More doctors? Foster/adopt? IVF? Nothing? Move to a far away land and hide from everything? We aren’t sure. We don’t know what the LORD has for us, for our family, for our lives. The only thing I can come back to is . . .
There is really not much more we can do right now than surrender. We have been married over 10 years, actively trying to conceive for 6-7 (I don’t know, I lost count), 3 surgeries, multiple rounds of treatments, lots of waiting, checking the calendar, hoping, dreaming, and nothing. While it’s easy for others to suggest how to “fix” our circumstance by just doing IVF or adopting, there is an entire aspect of grief that we need to work through to get there.
Infertility is complicated. It’s not just that “easy”. Grief through this journey complicates it all. We don’t know what God is doing and what He wants for our lives. We’re not ready to move forward with other decisions to simply get out of this trial or change our circumstance.
And so, we wait.
We’ll wait, we’ll seek, we’ll pray, we’ll hope, we’ll listen, and we’ll trust.
Trusting through this process is so much more than trusting God to give us a baby. We’re trusting that whatever happens, baby or no baby, adopting or not, He is still a Good Good Father. There is much we can’t see this side of heaven and we don’t want to miss what He has planned for our lives by forcing our will and our desires over His.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
This fall was one of the hardest seasons of my life. Leading and teaching through Philippians, having to stand up the morning after a failed treatment to preach the Gospel and proclaim Christ is enough, looking out to hundreds of women’s faces like a mirror to my own and declaring: Jesus is all we need.
Weeks later, to stand up after another failed treatment and teach on contentment. How nothing on this earth, no circumstance, no gift, no relationship, no remodeled kitchen, no Botox treatment, no perfect body, no bank account large enough will bring lasting joy and contentment. Only Jesus.
As hard as that place of obedience and surrender was this past fall, I meant every word.
He is all we need.
In Him, we are content.
There is no way to endure suffering, pain, disappointment, confusion, and grief apart from Him.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
“for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11
As we close this year, with no baby, an empty womb and an emptiness in our arms, I can honestly say I have learned to be content. I’m closing this year with an incredible closeness to the Father. Nearly every morning during advent, He has woken me up early in the morning, long before an alarm just to be with Him.
My word for 2016 was . . . with. All I wanted this year was to be with Jesus. And although we have no baby, the Lord has given me exactly what I asked for, what I longed for, what I wanted and needed most this year:
Immanuel . . . God with us.