Friday, March 14, 2008

Reconciling My Faith

I know that my blog has not had a decidedly spiritual tone in the past and my posts are going to seem a bit out of place – but that’s simply reflective of this battle I’ve had with infertility, myself and my faith.

The hardest part for me through all that is infertility has been reconciling my faith with this disease. I've always believed that the deepest desires of our heart are placed their by God. Of course - some qualifiers should be put in place to check those desires - are they godly; what is the driving force- understanding why you desire something particular to ensure at the core the motives are truly good; not for selfish gain, etc etc.

The difficult part, for me, has been the fact that the one true desire of my heart is to be a mother - and I believe for mostly good and noble reasons. This is also the same for my husband. But - here we are. I'm left to wonder just where is God?

I simply can not change my belief that the deepest dreams or desires we have are laid there by the hand of God – to believe otherwise just doesn’t make sense in relation to all that I know God to be. Our vision for realizing those dreams, I am learning, is often different than God’s, however. After all – he doesn’t just give us a dream and check us off the list as completed just to move on to the next person.

In the process, for some of us, of even learning that we have a dream we get a glimpse of God and this grand story He is writing. We learn that we have a purpose and a role and we begin to shift our eyes toward a new source of significance. We begin to mold the core of who we are to more align with our dreams to enable fulfillment. That should inevitably leads us closer to God, if our dream has been given by Him.

Many of us – and I am a perfect example – rely only on ourselves – our own endurance, strength, intelligence and skill to move closer to fulfillment of our dream. But that’s not how it is supposed to be. We’ve gotten off course. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” This verse is quoted so frequently and so often with empty intent behind it that I became numb to it. I didn’t give it the time and thought it requires. I, alone, can’t fulfill my dream in all the glory and splendor that God has planned by myself – I have to rely on Him.

I do not think that our attempts at IVF were wrong or trying to by-pass God’s will. There are plenty of people out there who try to make us feel guilty when we pursue infertility treatments – I promise I am not turning into one of those. I know that only God can give life regardless of the technology behind it and I knew that through every cycle – which was the root of my faith dilemma. But – this is God making my path straight, isn’t it?

God had to close every door for me to get me here. I had to use up all that I had in my own arsenal before I would stop and look for His vision of the dream He’s given me.

And so I wait. I am waiting for His direction. I don’t know how it will come but I know it will come. I know what is on my heart and I know that I have to wait for my husband’s heart to be changed. I believe that’s already begun.

Micah 7:7 (Amplified Bible)
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Now I Wait

This is the first time I have even logged into the blog since my last post in January. It was harder than I thought - in fact - I didn't expect it to be an issue at all. I think it was difficult because I'm giving myself the go-ahead to talk about it all again.

One day last week I gasped for air. It's as if I had been under water for the past couple of months holding my breath. I have been praying and reading the bible and reading the words of people much smarter than me to try and get the courage to come up for air. I've been making a slow ascent for the past few weeks and last week I finally broke the surface and took a deep breath.

I have spent a lot of time lately reading and praying. I, of course, struggled to understand how God could continue to let me go through so much. To not answer the only personal pray I care about. Why am I not worthy enough to have what seems to be so easy for other people?

What I've learned is that my vision is distorted. This isn't punishment from God. I haven't failed to perform perfectly on some divine test (Performance runs through my veins - it drives me - trying to understands that God isn't honored by my intense level of performance in lieu of faith is easier said than done). It's also not a case of God choosing to sit this one out. He's still there and He's been there all along.

I simply can not make this happen on my own - on my terms and my time table. I very rarely lose a negotiation. I've never failed to get whatever it is that I desire. I've created a great career when others may have bet against me. I can afford the "stuff" that I think I want. I know how to make things happen. But - for the first time, I am out of my league. I can't do this. Working harder, being better, thinking smarter - nothing I do can make this happen. That's quite the revelation for someone like me.

For the past year, I haven't even stopped to think. I moved from one treatment to the other. 4 in a year. That's insane. I was going to make this happen with or without God. Lesson learned.

I've been unbelievably patient lately. This is completely out of character for me. I haven't sprinted toward the next option - I've waited and prayed and read and prayed and waited. I've prayed for a peace in knowing that God is here and hasn't forgotten me. I've prayed for my husband's grief. I've prayed for a change in my husband's heart. And you know what? God actually does answer my prayers when I let him.

I don't know that my prayer for a pregnancy will ever be answered. I do have a strong, peaceful confidence that my husband and I will have a child through adoption. I'm not pushing the subject which is also new for me. My husband has never been keen on adoption and refused to talk about it until a couple of weeks ago. I've just very slowly mentioned things - not pushing conversation and he's receptive. The difference this time is I'm not capitalizing on those opportunities to strong-arm him - I don't force the conversation - instead I pray. Then I wait. The most amazing thing has begun to happen. I see my husband softening - I see God working in him. It's pretty amazing to watch.

It's odd to me that people keep telling me I'm strong. All of my friends and family keep saying this to me and I feel like the weakest person. If I were strong I would have weathered this better. More gracefully. I wouldn't have been afraid to reach out to someone when I would lie there at night and pray not to wake up because the pain felt too great for me. I would have had a more solid faith - a faith that never withered but instead stood firm in the surety of God's love. I haven't been strong at all but I'm getting better day by day and after all of this or maybe because of all of this I am growing into a woman confident in her faith and a God who doesn't ever let me get too far away.

The day I read this verse in my study time I just stopped and cried. Who am I that God longs to show me grace and loving-kindness?

Isaiah 30:18 (Amplified Bible)

"And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!"

Isaiah 30:18 (New International Version)

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice.Blessed are all who wait for him!"

This time I am resolved to wait - to wait on God to do a great thing in our lives. If only I can pursue waiting with the fervor I pursue planning it all myself....