Wednesday, October 20, 2010

::in the ashes::

There has been a reason for my silence here.   

Don't worry.  It's not what you think.

The past couple of months have been a fight for my sanctification.  And I'll be honest, I haven't handled the emotional upheaval well.  I spiraled down into a deep depression, and I spent a lot of time lying in bed weeping because I just couldn't see past my pain. Only a handful of people have known about my tumultuous days lately, mostly because I feel that I make people weary of hearing about my same old struggles. 

Earlier this year I toyed with the idea of putting all these blog posts and thoughts about infertility into book form.  I was in a good place with it all, and I felt--based on the number of emails I was regularly receiving--that there was a need for an honest but Biblical look at infertility.   While I haven't completely vetoed the idea, it has been tabled indefinitely.  The main reason being....I'm still living it

I'm hesitant to go into my pandora's box of emotions and feelings; dragging it all out for you will only highlight my ugliness, my pride, my feelings of self-entitlement, my anger at a good and sovereign God.  I can barely write that last phrase without being reduced to tears of shame.  I hate that I have questioned and threatened, shaken my fist at the God who doesn't owe me anything.  There wasn't any one thing that induced my sudden crisis of faith, but rather it was a crashing tide of pregnancy announcements, negative pregnancy tests, and a slew of disappointing doctor's appointments.  Circumstances.  They hurt, yes, but from this side of it, I can't believe I allowed myself to sink so low.  The enemy was at my heart's door, whispering sweet, candy-coated words of inflated injustice.  And I believed him, knowing full well that he is a liar.  I wanted to believe that he was right, that God must hate me, that if He loved me He wouldn't withhold my heart's desire. 

I laid in bed for several nights weeping uncontrollably, ranting and spewing out questions about God's character, and asked my poor husband to please, please explain it to me.  Why adulterers get pregnant?  Why teenagers get pregnant and abort?  Why drug addicts and alcoholics have no trouble conceiving?  Why people get pregnant on the first try?  Why not us?  Does the Lord hate me so much to allow someone who has so obviously rejected Him to have child after child, but not me?  

My questions all concluded eventually in the question that brought me low: Does God owe me anything?  


Even knowing the answers, though, I couldn't heal the ache in my heart.  I couldn't stop crying over six-and-a-half years worth of negative pregnancy tests, of one more obstacle being discovered at the doctor's office, of the medical debt piling up before we even get to the actual infertility treatments, of the thought that I will be 30 next year and my friends are all finishing up adding to their families, of the thought that I really might never conceive.  

It was not a mistake that my husband has been preaching through Romans for the past few months.  It has been this beloved book that has been my saving grace during this difficult time.  I prayed that the Lord would help me to understand, to help me to see.  And He used His Word, the Gospel that I already knew and believed, to absolutely break my heart into a million pieces.  After each sermon, I wanted nothing more than to lie prostrate on the floor and weep in absolute brokenness.  I understand the Jewish tradition of tearing your clothes and sitting in ashes.  It somehow feels appropriate.  When I began to regain that absolutely necessary perspective that the Lord stooped low to pluck me out of a drowning mass of people deserving only of death and destruction, I was humbled in a way I haven't been in a long time.  It was painful, is painful, but it has been the thing I needed to see how much God has poured out and LAVISHED His love on me.  It had been a faulty definition of love that I that I was using to define His character.  But this is love: He loves me because He loves me.  It's nothing in me.  No merit or deserving aspect of love.  Grace is by definition undeserved.  Grasping this concept anew has drastically changed my heart.  I feel like I am drinking in His Word like a woman dying of thirst in the desert,  and I'm clinging to the assurance of my salvation--this amazing, undeserved, grace-infused salvation--for dear life.  

I can only sit here now and allow tears of thankfulness to drip down my cheeks....the Lord, even in my sinful anger,  poured out grace upon grace


I tried several times to write a post to let you know I'm still alive, but I couldn't get out more than a sentence or two before knowing I wasn't ready.  I feel like I'm in a better place now, so I hope to get back to more regular posting.  I was recently contacted about doing a book review for an author who has experienced infertility, so look for that the first week of November.  Thanks for the emails sent to me over the past two months!  I am so sorry I haven't been up to replying.  Maybe I can get back to that soon.  

If you're interested in walking through the book of Romans, I can't recommend my husband's sermons enough.  He is an expository preacher, so if you're not accustomed to that, I think you'll benefit greatly from this type of verse-by-verse exposition.  You can read his manuscripts, but the audio versions are much better.  

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons  of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8~


Brian Denker said...

"...we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly..."
Groaning inwardly with you,
Brian & Cindy

Amber said...

I wanted to let you know I appreciated your post. Your honesty and your true feelings show your "realness". IF is a terribly hard journey. I'm so thankful that we are not alone. Jesus is walking it with us, holding us in his powerful arms when we are to weak to take the next step. Praying for you as we walk this journey together.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a blog of my own to share, but I just wanted to say I've been reading your blog for years now because I had a friend struggling with infertility and I wanted to find resources about it, especially first-person accounts, so that I could be the best friend possible to this person.

Now, I'm going through my own struggle in starting our family, and I find my thoughts mirroring yours: Why do people who live in sin get to keep their babies, while God seems to withhold from others who long for a family? I've come to an answer that satisfies me: How else will the orphans find mothers? If God plants a desire for motherhood in someone's heart - a strong desire, one that must be acted upon - and opens her womb, He blesses that woman with a family. But I think it's possible that God may plant a desire for motherhood in some of our hearts (mine included) and close wombs in order to give orphans He loves a home. "I know My child wants a baby of her own, and that she would be a perfect mother to the child I have planned for her." I believe He is sovereign over adoption paperwork and processes and brings YOUR baby (the one that He gave YOU to mother) to you through this obstacle. It's so hard. Trust me...I'm right here with you. It's hard watching gorgeous moms and their lookalike babies strolling through Target. What's so terrible is when I see ENJOYMENT in their eyes - you'd think it would be the opposite (and I think it is the opposite for most people): that it would bother me to see them arguing when they are blessed with so much - but there's something in me that aches when I see Mom and Baby giggling together, sharing popcorn, shopping for something completely unnecessary...talking about "Daddy." Sharing this bond.

I would never share these thoughts unless I related to your struggle in some way - and I do. Maybe God is showing both of us things through our desire to be mothers - maybe He is pointing us to children He wants to bring to us through other avenues. And it's okay to be upset. And even angry. Facebook pregnancy announcements are the worst for me lately. There's nothing wrong with mourning a pure desire. And there's nothing wrong with doing your best to have a baby. But I would challenge you (and myself) to consider why God has given you this challenge - and could it be for a bigger purpose? I'm sure you've already thought of these things and I hope you read my comment as being written in love - because it is. With more understanding for your situation than you know.


tea said...

I know how you feel Glenna. It is so hard not to listen to those lies about injustice, those lies that attack God's character. We 'know' what the truth is, but our emotions can take us far from it. I'm glad you're feeling in a better place. The roller coaster of infertility is no fun. I hope and pray I'm jumping off for good. Lord willing.
Saying a prayer for you. <3

Dangie said...

I hear you and have been dwelling there in the bottom of the muck and mire with you. I myself have asked those same questions to my husband. I have cried those tears of devistation. I have spent the last 4 months with God trying to refocus my relationship with Him and reconnect with Him. I can honestly say, yes, its getting better. Our God is great. I am thankful to know him. I love Him. I am not healed yet, but I am beginning to sense His peace in my life again. Praise God that He is Healing you, and your heart.
Thank you for your ability to eloquetly share where you have been and where you are going in your journey. May God Bless you. May God strenghen you. May God give you peace.

An Aspiring Mom-To-Be said...

Wow! I've been following your blog for a little while now. I stumbled upon it while googling "Christian infertility blogs". I really needed some encouragement and couldn't seem to find many Christian resources on infertility.

I want you to know how glad I am that you posted your feelings. It was such a courageous thing to do. What I appreciate is that the feelings you have described are feelings I've been struggling with throughout my infertility treatment. The anger, the sadness, etc.

I feel like God keeps bringing me back to the fact that He loves me. Even though I don't know what He has in store for me, I know that He loves me and that He is good.

Anyways, know that I'm praying for you as you go through this journey :)

Bryan and Chelsey said...

Sweet Glenna,

My heart breaks for you as I read this entry. Your words are so raw and so full of truth - and I relate to I will never, EVER, understand this journey or why good, Godly people like you and William have to embark upon it. I simply don't understand. And I too get so angry at the Lord.. What did I do wrong in my life? What point am I missing?? I still don't have the answers, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your testimony. You are reaching women all over the heart and helping them heal and in part, healing yourself. You are an incredible woman, Mother, friend, wife .... I am praying for your family, sweet sister friend. I love you.

sarah said...

sweet glenna- i ache for you. you are deep within my prayers, each day. thank you so much for your honesty in battling with your faith, you have unknowingly encouraged me in my own battles, especially lately. romans 8 is changing my entire life day by day. thank you for being all you are, and no less.