You chased me for years. Every 28 days you chipped away my hope by revealing that one lonely line at the end of a plastic stick. No matter how hard I prayed, no matter which way I closely examined that stupid stick, you defeated me each month.
I began carrying the word “barren” over my life, not just over my womb. You dried up my spirit and I found myself wandering in the desert. I watched life blossoming in other’s fertile ground, and I just did not understand why you were picking on me. So I wandered, lost and barren.
I tried everything! Remember the nights I stood on my head? The well-timed plans, the crazy medications, invasive unromantic fertility treatments? You turned everything beautiful about conception into a battle ground; I felt like a failure.
You robbed me of my femininity, my courage, my hope and my joy. You invaded my marriage bed. Every 28 days you rubbed my nose in failure.
You must have laughed at all those pregnancy tests I took. The bulk stash I kept under my bathroom sink, hoping that if I took enough, I could beat you at this game. I would like my money back, jerk.
Each 25th day of my cycle, I would begin to self analyze my physical condition. Why does PMS seem so much like pregnancy symptoms? Even my body seemed to be mocking me, and it ended the same each month. Hope crushed, as I reached for a tampon, sometimes those tears I tried to hold back just fell. I would sit on my toilet grieving another month of loss.
If I could go back and tell that barren woman one thing, it would be this. You were doing everything right and you are going to be okay.
I began to grieve for the child I would never have, but the beautiful thing about grief? It isn’t just the end, it is also a beginning. He offers us beauty for our ashes. As I let go of what I couldn’t have; what I had lost, what you stole infertility and the dust of disappointment started to blow off of my heart. I started to find my joy again. It had been a lonely road, but when I finally took the hand Jesus, I realized He had been walking right beside me all along.
After five years in the desert, I began to believe that a beautiful story was about to unfold in my life. I began to find my hope again.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
I let go of my disappointment and neurotic obsession. I told myself often to be patient and trust; somewhere between twenty to a hundred times a day. I made a slow journey to the edge of my desert and one day I touched my toe into the promise land. It felt like the bravest thing I had ever done. Sometimes it is hard to let go of your pain, it becomes to comfortable, even though it sucks.
I like this part.
I got better. My heart got better. As bitterness was replaced with hope, things got better. And then one day…
Two lines. I was not expecting this. I had hoped it, in the smallest hope that only God could hear. I just couldn’t let go of that dream.
Then on a snowy winter’s night, a hearty cry filled the air. Almost nine pounds of baby boy glory was born. When I saw his face, I knew it was over. I gazed at his chubby face, ran my finger down his rounded cheek and brought my other foot into my promise land.
Over the years I have thought of how other women of perhaps, greater faith, may have done this walk better, but then maybe it was their deserts that brought them to their “greater faith”. In the end, my journey was a very valuable part. It didn’t feel like that way at the time, but looking back, it was a season rich in growth and miracles.
And oh, what He can do with our mess when we really hand it over to Him.
Rubbing It In Yo’ Face Schwartz
(Still working on grace.)
I am linking up with SheLoves magazine this month on stories of hope.
photo credit: Tina Francis Photography