Can you think of desires or longings that seem so far from ever happening that when you think of them actually bring a smile to your face? A nice longing to think that some day may or may not come true?
Now what about those longings that have a real possibility of becoming reality? Maybe those longing actually bring an ache to your heart when you think about them because they have yet to be realized.
My journey this year has been filled with hope and anticipation, yet longings that are left unrealized.
In 2006 my husband had his vasectomy reversed although we never followed up with testing to see if the surgery was successful. We didn’t think much about purposefully conceiving, we just carried on with intimacy as we were moved, not because I was close to ovulating. Our desire for children was there and we looked on lovingly at other children. It was a desire we had that was not a ruling desire, it seemed appropriate.
In May of 2008, I woke up with excruciating abdominal pain. Initially we thought it was appendicitis but further testing indicated a very large tumor on my ovary with some suspicion of cancer. After further consultation, I learned that my ovary would have to be removed along with the tumor. My doctor assured me that he would do his best to preserve fertility. I had to wait an entire week for the surgery and during that time ponder the possibilities. I was amazingly calm during that week and knew that kind of peace only comes from God. During that week I was never concerned with the possibility of cancer, only the thought of losing my fertility.
As I awoke from the anesthesia, I was informed that they had removed the tumor which was in fact benign but they were also able to preserve my ovary and not remove it. Additionally, the doctor told me that the procedure would increase fertility. Hope awakened…having children was now a real possibility for us! God had taken us through a moment of immense difficulty and leaning into Him only to bless us in a way we never imagined.
We decided to have my husband tested to ensure that his surgery had been successful and we were even more blessed to learn that it had been 100% successful and that our inability to conceive over the last 2 years was likely due to my tumor. Hope was on fire!
Over the next few months I would discover that I had several hormonal imbalances and conditions that had been impacting fertility. From thyroid to adrenal to testosterone, with each new discovery came a new supplement to take and more hope. The most recent discovery is that I’m insulin resistant which has a huge impact on fertility.
It is now five months later and I not do not seem any closer to being pregnant. Since May, I have charted my cycles, taken my temperature every morning, planned sex, made sure that my husband was ready when my body said it was time and certainly not before, as well as taking fertility drugs. I have had some months where I was so convinced I was pregnant that I wouldn’t have a glass of wine or take any Ibuprophen. Since I now had full expectation of getting pregnant, I began to hit very low points in the month when I would get my period. Hope would gradually escalate during the month until it would come crashing down. Emotionally I would feel it; “why God have you given me this desire and hope just to let me down each month?” Additionally, I felt it physically in extreme and unexpected ways. The let down of not physically being pregnant caught me off guard. The awakened hope has caused an ache in my heart beyond belief, truly a hope that hurts.
I have wrestled with self-righteousness by almost bragging, well at least I’m not angry with God, at least I’m still happy for those who are able to get pregnant, and at least I’m not bitter. Far worse, I have elevated having a baby above everything, even my relationship with God. I have withheld intimacy and my heart from my husband because talking about it is too painful and assuming he couldn’t possibly know what I’m going through, assuming he isn’t going through his own pain as well. For this baby, I am truly sorry; I know your desires for children are as great as mine if not more. I pray that God gives me your understanding, your patience, and your faith. I also pray that he gives me the heart to hear you and not dismiss you because I believe my pain is greater.
I have been just like the Hebrews being delivered from Egypt. I spent my entire life in slavery to others and my own bondage; unloved and unprotected. God delivered me in the most amazing and redemptive way. He also delivered me from the possibility of cancer; not once but twice. Instead of being thankful that I’m loved, protected, cared for, adored, alive, and healthy, I’m groaning and complaining that he hasn’t given me more, the desires that I long for.
Just this weekend I came to a place where I truly desire God’s will for our family, even if the answer is no. On the days that my period appeared, I cried out to God that I didn’t want to have a baby more than I wanted to be in His presence; that I didn’t want to see Him as just a blessing giver. I truly mean that with all my heart, yet in all my actions it would seem that I do in fact desire a baby more than I desire to be in His presence and I often do see Him as a blessing giver. What I fear most is that my heart is going through the motion of surrender so that in turn He will bless us. I pray that not be so! I do not desire to be in a place where all month long I’m planning and obsessing about conceiving only to convince myself this must be the month I’m pregnant then to be racked with disappointment when my period arrives and all hope is flushed. I don’t want to avoid sex and intimacy with my husband for fear it will set me up for greater disappointment.
I long to walk through the month trusting in God’s will for our family and leaning into Him with an honest heart that desires nothing more than communion and relationship with Him. That when my desires (the desires He has given me) go unmet that I’m still praising Him for delivering me from Egypt. That I’m thankful for a beautiful daughter that was hand-picked for me and a husband that has fought the fight no man was ever willing to battle on my behalf.
I don’t want my prayers to be God take this desire from me, I want them to be Lord hold me tight during disappointment, cry and grieve with me yet lift my face up to yours and show me your tears, your radiance, your love for your daughter. Chase the enemy’s lies far away, let me not even ponder his ridiculous statement even for a moment but to laugh in his face and tell him that I know the truth and I believe whole-heartedly that not having a baby does not depict who I am or how You Lord chose to love and bless me.
I don’t want to just say with my mouth “God has a perfect plan for me” but to stand firm in that truth and be thankful and praise Him for that truth; not to feel better or for pain to be minimized but simply because that is the truth and God stands by His promises.