Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
I tried to get back into blogging around Easter time, and I had high hopes for it. But that was in April, and in April, we were thrust into the new world of fertility treatments. This resulted in half a dozen drafts written and discarded, mainly due to the fact that I was rarely anything but an emotional, hormonal, angry wreck during the entirety of these months. We are now in a little bit of a resting place, and I feel like I’ve come up for air enough to regain some composure and write again.
In the last 6 months, we have done 5 IUI’s (intrauterine insemination) with 4 rounds of clomid (a fertility drug). Everything has failed. I have spent 5 months devoting myself to prayer, begging for life to be knit inside me, only to end the month in agony. There are many ways in which being a person of faith makes going through something like this easier, but there are also many ways in which it does not. It’s not just my body that I curse at the end of each month, it’s the God who seemed to turn a deaf ear to my cries. When I crawl into the living room from the bathroom, dissolving in fits of tears and screams, my husband aches and does his best to soothe me. But God, well he doesn’t seem to care so much then.
There are words that help during this time, and there are words that don’t. Curse words actually help the most. I know that is not the most holy thing for a pastor’s wife to say, but a strong, angry curse word from a trusted friend is somehow able to make me feel like they get the depth of my pain. It is much more helpful than “God is in control”. I know it is said by the most well-meaning people, but the phrase just hurts, and it brings up more questions in me than it does grant peace. If God is in control, why does a meth-addict have no trouble getting pregnant, while I’ve endured 6 years of waiting? Why are there so many women who get pregnant for free, while I’m spending half my income on failed treatments?
There are times when life seems good and fair. Times when prayers get answered immediately, promises are kept, blessings overflow and the way of the righteous seems the sure pathway to happiness. The proverbs tell us of the blessings that come to the good and righteous man or woman. If you choose wisdom, you will be blessed. Choose foolishness, and you will reap the folly of your ways.
It’s true, except when it isn’t. Israel wrestled with this in the book of Job. Job, the righteous man, sat covered in sores, impoverished and broken, and his friends repeated proverbs to him. And I get it, I do. It’s hard to see someone in that much pain; you want desperately to find a solution for them, to give them an answer that will fix their problem. But I think Job might have been much more comforted if his friends had sat down with him and said “This is so unfair. You do not deserve to go through pain like this.” Those words, they bring me life, and I think they would have done the same thing to Job.
So where is God in all of this? Well, he doesn’t seem to be answering the deepest cry of my heart, and yet Jesus, God-made-flesh, has been so very present in every crevice of my pain. And he has been bringing me up from clouds of depression I thought I could never get out of. Our last failed cycle was some of the worst pain I have ever felt, and I spent a week wanting to die. And then, it got better. It shouldn’t have been any better, but it was. I felt able to breathe, think, laugh and joke. That’s more than just my antidepressant kicking in; I know it is my God bringing resurrection to my pain.
And there is something about serving a God-made-flesh like Jesus, one who walked and lived among humans. You can’t take just any old God into a doctor’s office, inviting him to reside in the room with you, a nurse, your husband, and a doctor, performing the very unholy, unnatural task of intrauterine insemination. But a God who became flesh, who lived and breathed and sweat and excreted and bathed, that God is different. And in a sterile office, as my hands shook and I flinched in pain, my husband grabbed my hand and the one who became flesh resided with us. His presence has been so tangible in those doctor’s offices that it has brought us both to tears. Why does he reside so strongly in the treatment and yet seem to behave so weakly in the outcome? I have no clue, and I really don’t like it. But I am thankful for his presence.
For those who would like to join us in prayer, I would love to have you. However, I will warn you: it is hard to pray and fight for something like this. Tom and I often feel guilty at the end of a cycle in which we asked many faithful men and women to pray; it is hard to let them down with the news that the prayers “didn’t work”. So, if you are going to fight with us, be prepared to endure the discouragement that comes with bad news. It’s hard work. A hard battle. All I can hope for is that, in the end, it will be worth all this fighting.
We took last month off of treatment, and we were forced to take this month off as well. This time off feels good to me; it has enabled me to breathe a little. We will (hopefully) start back up with treatment next month, with new doctors and new medication. We feel strongly that this is the right path as of now (we have prayed about adoption, and it doesn’t feel right yet), but we have no idea how far along this path we will have to go until we get a miracle.
It is hard to understand why a good God would allow me to go through so much hell before answering my cries. It’s the age-old question, and I’m not sure there will ever be a good answer for it. But I believe in a God who brings resurrection in the midst of death and pain. And I’m holding strong to the belief that I am blessed as I mourn, while clinging to each ounce of comfort I receive.