Nights were usually the hardest.
After the sun went down and my husband slept beside me, all the questions and fears would rise up inside. I was so confused. I wanted to be strong and faithful but I didn’t have any idea how. I felt pressed down with questions.
Questions about where God was while I was floundering. Questions about why I couldn’t bear the babies my heart was screaming for. Questions about my own value and identity.
Infertility carries with it a mark of despair. Unfulfilled hope is one thing, but deferred hope is something else entirely.
Unfulfilled means the potential is there, you just need to sit tight because it’ll all come together in time. With infertility, the ending is unknown, deferred into the future somewhere. Maybe you will experience tragedy, maybe triumph, but you don’t know. So the questions swirl and rise up and consume.
Finally, in desperation, I started trying to quiet myself. I repeated, “Be still and know that He is God,” so many times it felt inscribed into my being. Still, my fiercest self-effort still left me battling insomnia and the harsh reality that I couldn’t will myself into faith. All I knew was hurt and all I could see were my failings and emptiness.
So I changed my prayers. I stopped trying to convince myself that I was strong enough or God was close enough, and I started asking Him where He was. Not in accusation, like, “God, what do you think you’re doing?” but in honest questioning, like, “Abba, Father, where are you? Because I need you to live, to breathe, to survive.”
God met me in the twilight hours. He turned my heart back to His Word and my mind back to His grace. I learned to stop looking inside myself for comfort. I learned to look up.
The nights when I couldn’t sleep I would start in Genesis and begin quoting Scripture, seeing how many verses I could remember before skipping to the next book. I never made it past Deuteronomy before sleep would claim me.
In His Word, I found the comfort of a loving, ever-present Father.
The words of Genesis would wrap into me and over me. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” And Joseph’s understanding of God became mine– that even though I was faced with loss, God would use it to accomplish glory.
The declaration of Exodus, of God’s knowledge of the plight of His people, pressed into me. “God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.” And Moses understanding of God’s presence became mine, where the God of the heavens intimately knows our sorrow, our agony, our fears.
Leviticus, with the evidence of God’s presence, where “the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people” and they fell facedown, left me rolling over on my bed, burying my face into my pillow and feeling the weight of His presence.
Then I would rush into Numbers where there is the priestly blessing from Aaron to the people, and I would pull that blessing onto myself, clinging to the promises in the words, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
And if sleep did not claim me with the promise of peace, I would slip into Deuteronomy and eat of the goodness found there, “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
There, with His words running over me, I would finally sleep and rest would come.
The battle repeated, night after night, and the battle plan held firm. I would whisper, “Abba, Daddy, where are you?” And then I would quote the things I knew—and in His words, I was satisfied.
Finally the day came when I slept without convincing myself and the fierceness of the battles lessened. The deeper His words ran in me, the quieter my questions screamed. Until the day came when I couldn’t remember the last time I had to quote Scripture to fall asleep. And on that day? I sat and quoted it again, starting right in Romans 8, rejoicing that through the sorrow of infertility, God had poured on me the Spirit of Sonship, the label of daughter, and I was His, even here without the babies I thought I needed. [clickToTweet tweet=”The deeper His words ran in me, the quieter my questions screamed. #infertility ” quote=”The deeper His words ran in me, the quieter my questions screamed. ” theme=”style3″]
I still quote Scripture into the night air at times. If I wake from a bad dream, or drink coffee too late, or worry about my adopted children, or cry over the babies who never came home—
I’ll start with Genesis 1:1 and I’ll pour through, as far as I can, and I’ll get lost in the glory of His grace and I’ll find Him there, just as He always is.
Dearest one, whose nights are filled with questions and sorrow—I pray that you learn to grasp hold of the hope that is found in His words.