Monday, April 26, 2010

::but who's counting?::

Last week we officially hit the six year mark.  I know it doesn't really do me any good to keep counting up the years that we've been infertile, but I can't seem to help it. 

Surprisingly, even though I started a new cycle just as we hit that mark last week, it wasn't as discouraging as some of the other "anniversaries" have been in the past.  I remember being much more emotional around the first, second, and third year marks, easily spiraling into depression with each flip of the calendar.   It seemed to be the only thing I could think about, the thing that was defining my life.  I lived my life in two week increments.  With each failed cycle, with each passing month and then year, I felt like infertility was going to define the rest of my life, too.

Lately, I find myself not as much at odds with my infertility as I used to be.  Whereas it used to feel like I was wearing a choke collar with a vise-like grip, it now feels like an oddly comfortable, tattered t-shirt--something I wear not because I love it, but because I've been wearing it so long that it feels normal, familiar.  I would gladly take it off and wad it up, but instead of throwing it away I think I'd keep it somewhere close just so I can remember how God has used this form of pain in my life for my good and, hopefully, for His glory.  My husband was preaching yesterday, and he hit the topic of suffering in his walk through Zechariah 12-13.  One of the things that he said weighed on me with a fierce poignancy. Don't ask why you are suffering.  Scripture tells us that--it's to make you more like Jesus Christ.  Being conformed into His image will take you down the path of suffering.  Rather, ask how this suffering can be used to make you more like Christ. 

My husband is never a "three points and a poem" kind of preacher, but every so often he will read off some song lyrics that are heavy with good theology.  When he read this song by John Newton (author of "Amazing Grace")  I found my heart welling up with gratitude that God would use something in me to conform me to the image of His Son, even infertility.  Tears coursed down my cheeks as I listened to these words:

“I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow”
(John Newton, 1725-1807)
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

If you've asked the Lord for growth and grace, then don't be surprised at the suffering you may endure (James 1:2-4).  And while infertility seems like such a small wound when compared to the physical suffering of saints around the world, don't discount it.  The Lord CAN use this to make you more like Jesus.  That is certainly what I desire for myself.

I've been listening to David Platt's "Radical" series, and I have to say, it is one more way that the Lord has opened my eyes to my small view of the Gospel and of God.  I urge you--don't let your life be defined by infertility.  Instead, be known by how Christ is seen in your life and in your sufferings.  Remember that our time here is so short and we are here to make Him known.  If God uses infertility in your life to point you to Christ, then rejoice that He is at work in you!  You can hurt and rejoice at the same time.  This is what I have learned in six years.  You can hurt and rejoice at the same time.  God is faithful and sovereign, and He is at work for the good of those He has called to Himself. 



Jess said...

Very good post! Congrats on your 6th anniversary. I am sorry that each one is marred by infertility. Like you said, it does get easier each year. Praying that this year brings new changes including a little one!

erin said...

That is a lovely poem, Glenna, and I have no doubt that you have brought God glory through your suffering; I know I have been encouraged to seek Him more because of your boldness in sharing your heart and your struggles. Thank you.

andreajennine said...

I love that song. Indelible Grace does a really lovely version of it.

Stephanie said...

Beautiful post, Glenna! Praying for you! Thanks so much for encouraging me and being a Christ-like example for me!

Indy said...

I found your blog to Rebekah's (Heart Cries) and am glad I did...looking forward to reading more. I can surely identify with you.

alison said...

thank you, i needed this :)

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your blog today and have really enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing the strength of your faith. It is a comfort to know that I am not alone in this experience and to be reminded that God is sovereign through it all.
Keep blogging! :)