This week we have been hearing from several amazing women of faith who have journeyed (or are journeying) through infertility. My story, of course, can be found in my book Pain Redeemed, but today I want to take you into a current struggle in my own life. Part of being aware of infertility is understanding (as much as possible) the ongoing battles we are fighting. May this give you a glimpse into the constant war between faith and infertility.
God spoke and the syllables swirl deep and strong even now, centuries later.
The words laid Abram low, down-down in humbleness before the God who controlled his destiny and spoke promises into hidden places of longing. Did Abram scribble the words into the ground? Write them on the walls of his tent? How did he manage to cling to the Word of God through years and years of emptiness?
I’ve stood on the seashore and I’ve run my fingers through grains of sand while holding my other hand pressed tight to an empty womb. I can hear and see the agony that caused Sarah to send another woman to her husband’s bed, anything, anything to bring about the child that her soul was screaming for.
It was the middle of desperation, the center of a promise that rang hollow and left her thinking that happiness could only be found if she grabbed hard and forced the hand of God.
Her best laid plans wrecked havoc on her marriage and her home and her heart.
I can taste it, the agony and longing to believe but failing, and the empty lostness.
I had a dream once, back in the early days after those first doctor visits. I was wandering around Abraham and Sarah’s camp. I looked up and saw this old, old woman with flawless skin and clear eyes. She was wearing blue. I knew immediately that it was Sarah and I stepped a bit closer. Her gaze focused my way and she walked swiftly toward me, grabbed my arm and looked me straight in the eye. “Don’t laugh,” she said, her voice rough and strong, “of all the things I regret, laughing is the greatest one. When God speaks a promise, just believe.”
I woke up that morning and felt like it was God himself who had whispered into my nighttime slumber. I won’t laugh, I whispered, I won’t.
But I have.
My faith is so little and broken.
My mother? She holds fast. She prays hard. “I haven’t given up,” she tells me with her hand, the one that is so slim and beautiful, holding my arm. “I believe you will bear a child.” My mama who has beaten cancer twice. Who just walked away from another doctor appointment with a clean bill of health. The one whose whole life spills faith.
And I want to cry, “But what if this promise isn’t mine? What if, by believing, I’m holding tight to something that God is forcing me to give up?”
I don’t remember when I stopped praying for a baby. Probably that last time, after the miscarriage, when I scribbled out the words in my journal, with anger and fear fueling my actions.
I don’t want to live in fear and unbelief. Neither do I want to strive so hard that I grip and grab for more than what God suggests. I don’t want to create an Ishmael. I just want words spelled out clear and concise. Do this. Don’t do that. Be this. Say that. Go here.
But God only says, “Walk with me.”
And He leads down some pretty dark and wandering roads.
“and he as good as dead…” The phrase catches me.
What does God require of you? To walk humbly with your God. To kill the sinful nature. To kneel hard. To be “as good as dead” in the flesh that He might live in us.
I’ve laughed. Lord, forgive this lost sinner.
I fear. Lord, heal up this broken fearfulness in me.
I cling tight to my pride. Oh, Jesus, wash me clean again. Scrub away this desperation in me.
And Lord, I’m so, so afraid to ask, petrified that I am trying to reach for something you have denied me for a reason, but I know it is my own pride and fear that have kept me quiet– so I’m writing it here where I can’t take a pen and scribble it out,
please, please, please– give me a child. Somehow. Someway.
And Lord? If a lifetime passes and I never receive the fulfillment of this desperate prayer? Then I’m trusting that You are good and beautiful and wonderful even in the emptiness.