I was around 13 weeks pregnant when a friend, upon hearing that we were expecting and knowing of our struggles with infertility, looked at me and asked me,
“What has your experience of God’s faithfulness been throughout this journey?”
I stared. My mind was blank. The Lord’s faithfulness? The thought had barely crossed my mind. I was just then beginning to make plans for this baby, to truly begin to believe that this little one would make it into our arms. I had been blessed by very little morning sickness, but I was exhausted and constantly hungry until around the 9th or 10th week of my pregnancy. When I wasn’t trying to figure out what I to eat or overcome by exhaustion, I was constantly praying for the safety of our little one.
As I struggled to answer her, I realized that despite our immense joy and gratitude, that thus far, I had spent most of my pregnancy consumed with worry. Fear was waiting in the wings, always ready to come out and turn my joy to anxiety. Even on days with relatively little worry, I worried about our experience with having our next child. I dwelled on the possibility of secondary infertility. Some that knew us asked us how we felt now that our journey with infertility was “over.”
In my heart, though, our journey with infertility was far from over.
I had yet to truly open my heart to Christ. He had blessed us with this immense and incomprehensible gift, and yet, my heart still felt broken and shattered. I was consumed with “what ifs” and the darkness of the unknown. I prayed constantly for our little one. I prayed for the grace of baptism to be given to our child, I asked for the protection of our child’s guardian angel, I looked up week by week miscarriage statistics, I tried not to worry at every new pain, all while trying to hold it together and be as joyful as others expected me to be.
That question shattered the facade and walls that I hadn’t even realized I was building.
Where was Christ in this? In the midst of all my worry, and yes, joy, what had I done in my life to seek Him? The question of Christ’s faithfulness began to swell up within my heart as my heart repeated and amplified the question as a resounding chamber echoes. In time, it became another question:
“How have I been faithful to Christ?”
I hadn’t been. Thoughts of planning and of worry took root in my heart where Christ’s love should have been. I allowed myself to be consumed with noise and distraction, content with a spiritual life of mediocrity. The noise of television and social media drowned out my worries, rather than turning to Christ and allowing His Mercy to pour over me as an ocean.
The realization hit me like lightning, and I was paralyzed. I was ashamed. I was angry with myself. For months, I had simply been going through the motions of my faith. I was numb to the reality of Christ’s immense Love and Mercy. I was too consumed with my own worries and my own faults. The way I had been living was not enough, and it had to change.
I poured my heart out to Christ that evening. I was brutally honest with Him about the worry that this child would not make it to our arms. I prayed over and over again, “Lord, you did not spare us from the Cross of Infertility. In your Mercy, I beg You, spare us from the Cross of Miscarriage. Yet not my will, but Thine be done in me.” I laid bare all the ways in which I knew I was failing Him and those around me. I confessed feeling empty and disconnected in prayer. It was a moment where I allowed myself to be vulnerable and to truly feel all the pain, hurt, anguish, worry, and fear I had carefully bottled up within my soul. I resolved to be more faithful to Christ, and asked His forgiveness.
To my surprise, Christ met me in that moment. When I allowed myself to be brought low, Christ came down to me and lifted me into His arms. Our Lord gave me a beautiful experience of His Grace. For the first time in my pregnancy, I felt peace. I felt hope. I felt an assurance that this child would be given the grace of Baptism, and I gave myself the emotional permission to be excited about our child’s future. I opened my heart, and Christ met me there in my brokenness. He began healing me from the wounds that I hadn’t realized were left from our experience of infertility. And I sobbed, because in that moment I was finally able to say, “Our Lord is faithful.”
All throughout Lent and into Easter, Christ has continued to show me His faithfulness. I have begun seeing that the Lord allows us to be brought low so that we can more fully realize our need for the Holy Spirit in our hearts. When we are small and entirely dependent upon Christ, we experience His Love all the more deeply.
So, what has my experience of the Lord’s faithfulness been throughout our journey with infertility?
Our Lord is gentle and merciful. He knows our hearts, and He knows exactly what we need in order to grow in holiness. Christ frequently gives us more than we ourselves can handle, but the Holy Spirit will walk with us and carry us through these pains if we allow Him. All of our sufferings in our journey with infertility have come with a clear lesson. I have grown in ways that I would not have if not for our experience with infertility. I am able to experience a deeper gratitude, not only for our child, but also for my spouse and for the daily little blessings of my life. I know that secondary infertility after this little one is still possible, but I know longer dwell on it. I know in my heart, that Christ’s plan for our family is greater than I could imagine, and so day by day, I strive to give control of our lives to God.
For the Lord does not allow Calvary without the Resurrection, whether that Resurrection be in this life or the next.