Beauty in the ashes
A couple weeks ago, I attended a Woman’s IF gathering at my church. ( if you haven’t done this, you need to. Amaze-balls). We sat at tables of 8 and were given cards with questions to strike up conversation. Now y’all. These questions weren’t like… what is your favorite hobby? They were Intense. Hard…Thought-provoking questions. I’m real glad God knows what he’s doing in all the fine details of our life, because thankfully he put me at a table full of cryers. Praise him. With tissue for days and eight emotional women, it really was a perfect setting for God to show up. He did. Eventually, a question got asked about how God shows himself to you in brokenness. When the question was first read, my palms became sweaty. Because you see, I had NO desire to answer it. I did NoT want to go back to that place of raw, deep wounds… that are hard to bare. I mean, I didn’t want Debbie Downer sitting with us all weekend. So I was super thrilled when my homegirl, Shelly, spoke up first.
She told a beautiful story. One of heartbreak and redemption. A story all about God’s wonderful way of allowing something really awful to happen to us so that we are able to become more like him… she said it was in the pit, where her life changed forever, for the good. Hmmm… sounded familiar. I didn’t want to answer that same question that Shelly did. But, I knew I needed to.
2016 was an epic year for Jared and I… we traveled all over Europe, ate good food, drank good wine, ( I love Jesus but I drink a little)… and we just loved living in our own little bubble with no baby talk… pretending 2015 wasn’t a hellacious year. I think we both needed a break from reality. And I think it was well-deserved. But somewhere in that break, I began to listen to Satan’s lies. I began to shove my feelings, emotions, and anything to do with infertility way down deep. But what I also did, was put my relationship with Christ on the back-burner. Sure, we still went to church. Sure I still sang all the songs and opened my bible up during the sermon. But i had lost something that is only found in the ashes. Something that is only found when your heart is broken… in the darkness… all alone. I had lost my desperation. I had lost my gut-wrenching need for one relationship that none others hold a candle to. Jesus is all you NEED… when he is all you HAVE.
I ignored Jesus. I did. In my heart, I knew the more destitute I was, the closer my Jesus would be. And I didn’t want to be sad anymore. I didn’t want to be broken anymore. So I chose to not deal with my sadness over babies and my desperate need for him, and chose to push God away. I noticed my heart being hardened towards others… if this girl can read an article or watch a video about a starving dog or homeless child without tears, something is wrong. And it was.
So when we read that question… I knew… for the first time in a Year, I needed to let myself feel. I needed to mourn for the dreams I had of being a mom before the age of 34. I needed to mourn for my baby names and nursery bedding. I needed to mourn for the desire to see my husband be a daddy. So, I did. It wasn’t pretty, y’all. The girls at my table can testify, amen? I made no sense when talking, and tears wouldn’t stop flowing… but it was good. I felt the presence of a mighty savior there in my puddle of tears… brokenness is a beautiful thing.
Jesus truly does make beautiful things out of dust. Sometimes, he has to cause a storm in our lives…In order to calm a rebellious soul. I wish he didn’t have to do this. I wish by nature, that we were so much like him that we could live in our Jesus bubble and joyful land of rainbows and puppy dogs without waiver. But here’s the deal. We aren’t like Christ by nature. We’re the complete and total opposite. We aren’t humble, kind, or selfless without him. And sometimes, the best way to get to a prideful heart, is to strip away everything in that person’s life than made them that way. It’s in that moment of complete surrender… where we have nothing, that Jesus becomes all we need… where I am sitting in the darkness, battered and broken, that when I grasp out into the light, Jesus is there.
You know what Has happened in my life since infertility… what’s happened in these almost five years of watching lots of other baby bellies grow while mine stayed empty…While I was begging and pleading with God for a baby?!? This is what’s happened. My marriage is the best it’s ever been. I look back at when we first started trying to grow our family… and I cringe. I thank God often he didn’t give us babies then. It could’ve been a disaster.. in fact, I think it would’ve been. And when I think about this, I think… WOW. By the time we have babies, we will really, really love each other. Like even more than now. And that’s super awesome. We will have that many more years of practicing unconditional love towards each other before practicing on a kid. My husband is more kind, more patient, and better looking. (🙌🙌). And I hope he would say his wife is more selfless and respectful of him. Thank you Jesus.
Sorrow in life also allows us to fully appreciate joy. And nothing brings me more joy than being an aunt. I get to have uninterrupted years with each of my nieces and nephews that motherhood can’t steal from me. I get to have slumber parties, and dance fests with little feet on my living room floor. I get to shove little faces with sugar and then send them home. I get to build bonds with six little humans that I hope and pray last my entire life… that they will always know they have someone to go to besides Mom and Dad. And most importantly, that I am able to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives. They are my greatest pride and joys, and I love them fiercely.
Id also like to think that I respond differently to those in need… that I Have more compassion and empathy for someone who is hurting and broken… than I can learn to meet them where they are without judgement and stand with them. In Jesus’ name.
There are certain things that God can only do with us in brokenness… I don’t want to relive 2015 with two failed rounds of IVF.. with a roller coaster of intense hope followed by extreme sadness… but I am thankful it happened. I am thankful God put me through that hardship so he could make me more like him. We’re still in the waiting right now. And the waiting is hard. Those seasons of life when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel… where u don’t know how much longer you have to bare that burden that breaks your heart. But here’s the good news. We’re not waiting alone. And The one Who is here with me AND has gone before me… he knows. And I trust him. Some days, I question and some days I mourn… but I trust. And trusting him is enough. I cant wait until the day, when we’re on the other side of this.. where we can see all the ways God was moving and working and writing our story; all the while we were questioning and wondering… I know its gonna be epic. Like super fantabulous great. Because, he is good. He is able. He is faithful. I am thankful for this hardship and heartbreak… and I am thankful he can make beautiful things out of ashes.