Several weeks ago, I wrote and posted a prayer for women struggling with infertility. Some of you commented, emailed, or stopped me at church to mention that you were grateful for that post. Today, I want to allow my friend, Lindsay, to share her story of infertility with you. It’s a story in draft form: an empty crib continues its patient waiting. But just because we don’t yet know the final chapter does not mean it is not still a story of hope. I trust this can encourage you today, or that you’ll choose to forward it to a friend who may need to hear Lindsay’s words of radiant faith. This is the story she shared with a gathering of people from her church on Mother’s Day, and I’m grateful that Lindsay has allowed me to post it here.
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I have been chosen for infertility and child loss. It’s a desert filled with pain, anger, frustration, sorrow, grief and great loss. But, there is an overwhelming and permeating presence of the Holy Spirit. He was here with me in the desert the whole time, but I’ve only truly known that for the last two years, and even more so in the last few months.
My husband, Joe, and I have been married for 12 years this July, and in 2006 we moved to Indianapolis to return to our native state, settle down and start a family. We began trying to conceive in January 2007 and by March we were pregnant! I remember waiting for Joe to get home from work to show him the pregnancy test, and then running out and buying a second just to make sure.
Three days later I miscarried – one baby in heaven.
In October we got pregnant again! And within a few days, I miscarried again – two babies in heaven.
By this time I realized I was going to be battling infertility. I started seeing a specialist, and over the next few years took so many tests, tried so many pills and injections and hormones. Had some surgeries . . . and grew frustrated and tired. Nothing worked. I’ll never forget sitting in my fertility specialists office, when he held my hand and Joe’s and said, “Lindsay, I can do everything modern medicine can help me do to get you pregnant, but if God doesn’t allow for it, there’s nothing stopping him. There is no magic pill, procedure or surgery. God is the giver of life, not me.”
We were at the end of our financial and physical rope for infertility treatments. We had some dear friends, who had adopted their two daughters, so we invited them over for dinner and asked a million questions about domestic adoption. After many months of research and prayer, we signed with an agency and began the adoption process. After one month of our profile being online and available for a match with a birthmom, we were chosen! One month! We met her, got to know her family, emailed, went to dinner, showed her pictures of the nursery, bought gifts, and waited for our daughter to be born.
On June 9, 2010, Maya Grace was born and we arrived at the hospital just a few hours after she entered the world. We held her, took pictures with her, rocked her, watched her doctor’s exam in the nursery…But the next day, at the hospital, we saw a spiritual battle brewing over our heads, so real, we literally felt angels and demons battle it out for Maya. We entered the room where she was with her birthmother and were met with darkness.
The birthmother kept Maya and we left the hospital with an empty car seat – three babies gone, this one still on earth.
And, in February of this year, the day we were about to buy our plane tickets to Florida to be present for Skylar Grace’s c-section, we got the call that the birthmom had changed her mind about the adoption – four babies gone, this one still on earth. This one is so raw we didn’t even tell most family and friends.
After the first adoption loss I started seeing a counselor and she guided me to meet God in the desert. And, I discovered He wasn’t this big, over-bearing, judgmental, rules-driven, angry God who takes away children. No. He is soft. He is quiet. He is gentle. He is strong. He is a shelter. He is a cool breeze. He is a whisper. And, most of all, the part that gives me so much hope in the midst of so much grief, is that God the Father knows what it’s like to lose a child. And, Jesus, knows what it’s like to be child-less. He bears my griefs and carries my sorrows.
I’ve been a believer for 30 years, and I’ve never experienced God like I have in the last six years of this trial. He has taken decades of anxiety, fear, control, impatience and a judgmental spirit and is replacing them with love, peace, submission, and contentment. It is a daily, no hourly, turning to Him for those supernatural gifts. This is grace upon grace and constantly choosing hope. I’m a totally different person.
For the last several Mother’s Days, I’ve chosen anything but hope. I’ve chosen doubt, anger, fear, frustration, resentment, jealousy and anxiety. Those were easy choices, because I felt those things. But, this year, I choose something difficult to choose. I choose hope. This is freedom! Hope now helps me navigate through deep waters and empty places in my heart. In the storm, I choose to be grounded in the truth that God loves me, and that’s what keeps me going. He is changing me. I would be poorly equipped to do the job of raising a child if I hadn’t first known how to suffer well. In this time, I have to experience God, not just learn about him. I have to ask the hard questions, endure pain and cope with unanswered prayer.
Proverbs 24:14 says “Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Holy Spirit, wherever each person is today in the midst of a difficult Mother’s Day, Lord, please, help them find hope in the desert. To see that this chapel is filled with wisdom that is sweet to our souls. And, God, because you promise hope in the midst of a desert, I’m choosing hope and praying for your supernatural healing of our barren hearts and wombs.