Friday, December 11, 2015

Waiting. Longing. Hoping.

I wrote this in October last year -- the month I ended up getting pregnant. I wrote because I needed to get my feelings out of my head. I shared this with 3 people back then - the one friend who encouraged me to write my feelings since she knows writing can be cathartic for me, and  two other women who I had told I was trying to get pregnant. As I read back on what was on my heart then, tears still flood my eyes. Tears of thankfulness, but also tears of pain - knowing those feelings are or have been reality for many friends of mine. 

This topic is taboo. It shouldn't be taboo. Trying to get pregnant can be really hard. My waiting was about 6 or 7 months and it felt like eternity. For those who have waited years and years, I can't imagine. For those who are in the waiting or the trying - I'm here. I'd love to talk to you or pray with you. You are not alone. Being able to talk through my heartache with a few close friends during my season of waiting opened doors for conversations that were absolutely life giving and deepened relationships to a new level of authenticity.  

Waiting. Longing. Hoping. In the Christian world there’s a name for that season. It’s called Advent. From an article on the Gospel Coalition Blog:
“Advent links our hearts with those of ancient prophets who pined for a long-promised Messiah but who passed away long before his arrival…Advent reminds us that we too are waiting. In Advent, Christians embrace the groaning and recognize it not as hopeless whimpering over the paucity of the present moment but as expectant yearning for a divine banquet that Jesus is preparing for us even now. In Advent, the church admits, as poet R.S. Thomas has put it, that “the meaning is in the waiting.” And what we await is a final Advent that is yet to come. Just as the ancient Israelites waited for the coming of the Messiah in flesh, we await the consummation of the good news through the Messiah’s return in glory. In Advent, believers confess that the infant who drew his first ragged breath between a virgin’s knees has yet to speak his final word.”
 If I’ve learned anything over the past 5 years, it’s that God has distinct purpose in all that He does. In the Bible it talks about how At the RIGHT TIME, Christ died for the ungodly. Not a moment of my life has been neglected by my creator. No timing was accidental in any season I’ve walked through. In His great kindness towards me, he has used many different life experiences to mold me into the woman I am today. Some seasons required severe mercies to teach me hard lessons others were learned through his lavish blessings.

Those severe mercies are what I remember now:

He has allowed pain to cut my heart wide open so that he might be my healer and bind me back together with his promises and history of faithfulness.
He has allowed unemployment and disappointment to infiltrate my life so that I might turn from my skills and my achievements to recount those He has accomplished on my behalf and claim the future victory I will ultimately experience through Him.
He has allowed my family to battle sickness and trials so that we might experience the body of Christ around us and know that death has no power when you know and love Jesus.
He has allowed me to walk through the unknown in various seasons of life to point me to Him as the only answer that will satisfy all of my “what-if’s” and the true constant amidst chaos.
He had me experience a long distance relationship so that I could learn that neither Joel nor any other person can be my fullness. My fullness, identity and satisfaction must come from Jesus.
He let multiple friends of mine to walk away from our relationship after my personal failures to show me that no matter what I do, HE will NEVER walk away from me. In fact, he will pursue me without abandon and pour out his love over me until I realize the giver of every good gift is HIM.  

And now I’m experiencing a different kind of hope and waiting and longing. It’s a quiet and more subtle waiting. A private longing that is unique for me, but known by many. This is the season of trying to get pregnant; something so personal between a husband and wife. In all of the blogs and books and coffee break conversations, there’s a common question asked to most newlyweds regarding when they are going to start trying to have kids. There is a gray area as to what is appropriate to share as the recipient of those questions and comments. At what point or do you ever invite others in? At first- it’s exciting to know you’re entering the time you want to start a family. Coworkers or friends might be clued into you saying it MIGHT be time to start trying.

Then as the months tick by without a positive pregnancy test – everything about trying to have a baby starts to get scary. People know I said I wanted to have kids – but don’t know we’ve already been trying for months. Their excitement and hope on our behalf – asking questions about when we will announce; they mean well, but their questions hurt. Those very questions stir up haunting fears inside my head. Am I broken? Will I disappoint my husband and fail to give him a child? Is my body a barrier between me and my biggest dream to be mom?

There’s a LONGING in that moment when a friend or family member asks those questions to spill my heart. Sometimes I do – I tell them, I hope to have something exciting to announce soon more than anything in the world! But sometimes (and more often) I don’t want to be that vulnerable. I want to keep my tears and hopes and dreams to myself.  I want to protect the privacy of my marriage. Yet – it’s lonely. Each month there’s the exciting possibility that THIS COULD BE THE MONTH. That excitement has lessened each month as the undercurrent of previous months’ disappointment stirs louder fears telling me that it will never be my month. No, I’m not saying I’m infertile. I’m not saying I’m not either –I think that’s the tricky part.  I don’t KNOW. We’re still in the “try for a year before you see a specialist” phase. The quiet phase. The silently hoping phase that people don’t talk about.

As I wait and hope and long for the day we have a positive pregnancy test or the day we sign adoption papers, I can look back at the faithfulness of God to combat my anxiety in waiting. Before Jesus came and became the ultimate Passover lamb – humanity had the true advent. Waiting for the Messiah. After DECADES OF SILENCE, he came. His timing has proven over and over again to be right and good. Who am I to question the timing of a faithful God?  

Moment by moment in trying to come alongside God’s timing, I struggle. A new month and a new heartache as that month isn’t the magical month we’ve been waiting for.  As each of those difficult seasons I mentioned above were happening, everyday life was SO hard. With eyes that can now look back to those teachable times knowing the heartache and also knowing the fruit those times produced, I see that I’m at a crossroads.  

Option 1: Look to myself. Listen to the voices. Let the what ifs haunt my late night hours and keep me from sleeping. Live in fear that one of my biggest dreams (to be a mom) won’t happen. Barter with God and beg Him to give me a baby. Look around me and get jealous of all the women in my life that are pregnant or already have children.

Option 2: Look to Him. Yes, sometimes with a tear stained face. Yes, often on my knees. Sing his praises. Read through the rich history of His faithfulness to all generations through scripture. Be thankful that I am child of God, adopted into his family by the sacrifice of Jesus. Continue calling out to Him. Dare to hope, even though hope risks disappointment. Hope trusts that Jesus has His best in mind, no matter what the outcome. 

Women – if you’re in the same season of trying to conceive and are having similar fears/anxieties, you can talk to me. I’m not going to think you’re crazy. I won’t resent you if you get pregnant first. I can’t guarantee that it will be pretty – but I will be real and raw and honest with my feelings and try to love you well through the journey.Verses I’m praying for me and praying over each trial you currently face:
Romans 5:1-8 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Hebrews 6:17-20  7 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose,  he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which lit is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf,  having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.