Friday, December 5, 2014

Gifts of Raindrops and Tears

A few years ago, my husband and I were desperately trying to have a baby. I was thirty-four when we married, and by the time we got serious about trying, I was thirty-six. After five miscarriages and six rounds of IVF, we finally admitted defeat in 2012 and threw away all the horrible fertility pills, hypodermic needles, and pamphlets on fertility foods (all a constant part of our life since 2009).

We briefly looked into adoption but decided against it after weighing the costs, stress and anxiety, and the fact that we were basically too old to pursue traditional adoption routes (I was 40 by that time; my husband was 47).

Despair settled in. It was over and we both knew it. For me, it sparked an intense period of anger with God and everyone around me. I could not be in the presence of a pregnant woman (it made me physically ill), and even someone discussing adoption raised my hackles.  I felt like an inferior specimen of humanity, and more importantly—I felt sure that God was withholding from me the one thing that I’d actually been designed to do (bear children). Yes, I believed that lie. I was sure it was some kind of punishment.

My long suffering husband had already come to terms with the losses and accepted that God had given us a final and resounding NO. He really wanted to be there for me emotionally, but he also didn’t want our lives to revolve around the label of infertile couple. He finally suggested that we do something that we could never do if we had kids: travel abroad. So we planned a trip to the United Kingdom, and that summer we traveled around England, Scotland, and Wales. It was the best decision we ever made.

When we returned, I was miraculously healed. I know. It sounds crazy, but it’s completely true. When we returned from the U.K., I was like, “You know what? I really don’t think I want kids anymore.” Part of me felt that this would be a passing emotion, but just the other day we were talking to family members, and I realized that I still felt the same. Nope. No longings there. It was a praise-worthy moment. God simply plucked those feelings from my heart and replaced it with his assurance--"My grace is sufficient."

Later, my husband and I talked about the fact that God really did know what he was doing when he withheld this gift from us. (Imagine that? God knowing what he was doing!) For four and a half years, the desire to have children had become an idol, taking over our lives. We'd been slaves to the doctors and fertility experts and everything they told us to eat, drink, and inject. Our marriage was swaddled in pain and loss, and there was very little relief as we careened through one failed IVF cycle and pregnancy after another. It eclipsed absolutely everything for a few years, including my relationship with God, as I remained in a perpetual state of anger.

The true, supernatural gift arrived with the release from obsession and idolatry of children. Next to  the gift of my husband, I consider this peace the best gift I’ve received in my life so far. I don’t know why we had to endure those tides of unrest, but I feel I’m a more secure person with a better relationship with God as a result. Realizing that the Lord is not an ATM machine or a cosmic Santa has made all the difference in my life and in my marriage.
At the end of the day, I know I will see my miscarried babies again one day on the other side. If I ever looked forward to heaven, how much more so now!

Yes, God answers all our prayers, but he doesn’t always give us what we want; instead, he provides what we need. Most importantly, his most precious gift is in our need for him. He longs for our faces to be turned toward him at all times, no matter if our cheeks are glowing with joy or bathed in tears.
"It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have." 1 Cor. 1-11 (NLT)
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!