Christianity, Infertility

Haiku Sunday : Wings Unexhausted.

“Soaring with the storm.

Wings unexhausted. Softly.

The beauty of flight.”

I know. It’s not my best haiku ever.

I was walking with my husband to the movie theater last weekend, and we happened to see a little girl and her mother feeding a flock of birds. These birds were everywhere and in very large numbers, so I just had to get a picture of them. In the theater, as we were waiting for the movie to begin, I started uploading some of my bird pictures to Instagram and wanted to think of a haiku to go with one of them. I thought for a few minutes about what the bird pictures meant to me – aside from being random pictures that I took while walking to the movies – and as I scrolled through the pictures I’d taken, I was reminded of a sermon that I’d heard as a child.

The sermon, as I remember it,  was based on Isaiah 40:31. This verse says that “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and will not faint.” The minister who gave the sermon was emphasizing the point that when eagles fly through harsh winds or storms, they do not tire themselves out by flapping their wings incessantly. Instead, they soar. They get up into the air, spread their wings out, and allow the wind to take them the rest of the way. The minister was trying to encourage us to have that kind of trust in God. Instead of exhausting ourselves by constantly trying to make our lives fit into our own agendas, we should learn to “spread out our wings” (relinquish our need to control and manipulate life), and allow the “wind” (God) to take us on the journey. In doing this, we find more beauty and meaning in our lives – because we allow the one who gave us our lives to also direct it.

One of the things that I am learning, through infertility, is how to “wait upon the Lord” and “soar with the storm.” I am quite an indifferent person, and have never really wanted anything very badly in my life. I’m easy-going and easy to please, and I have often mistaken my indifference for patience, peace, or acceptance. In the times where I have been denied a want or desirable outcome, I was able to get over it fairly quickly (within minutes!). The truth is, I’ve never wanted anything badly enough to really become frustrated when it was denied me. Furthermore, the few things that I have wanted in my life have been within my ability to obtain.

Infertility is the first time that I am facing a situation where I can’t have something that I really want, and I can’t control when – or even if – I’ll get it.

And I’ll be honest, I hate infertility. With a passion. But I can also see the beauty in what it is teaching me. I can see how God is using it to make me a better person – more compassionate, more transparent, more trusting, and with more respect for the gift and the Giver of life. The longer I struggle with infertility, the better I am getting at simply spreading my wings and allowing the wind to take me where it will. I am getting better at waiting on the Lord. And for that, I am grateful.

No matter what your struggle is, use it as an opportunity to learn how to have true patience. Use it as an opportunity to become more compassionate and sensitive to the silent struggles of others. Use it to find beauty and meaning in the life lessons that your struggle will inevitably bring – the life lessons that will equip you for potentially harder times in the future. Most of all, use it to learn how to wait upon the Lord. He knows what He is doing.

Soar with the storm.

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Christianity, Family, Infertility

Dear God: Though You Slay Me.

Dear God,

Every October that passes without a child is another year that’s gone by since my husband and I began trying to concieve. There are so many lectures, songs, and scriptures that encourage us to worship You through the most difficult times of our lives. And although I’ve matured a lot during this process, I can’t say that I always handle my struggle to have children in the most spiritually mature way. In theory, it sounds like a great idea to worship You despite my challenges. On a day like today, when I’m home alone cleaning my apartment or working on a blog post, I can listen to all the uplifting music I want. I can post scripture verses all over my house. I can avoid looking at Facebook or Instagram where I am sure to see pictures of everyone’s children or pregnancy announcements.  I can pray prayers of thanksgiving for as long as I have the time. It’s so easy to do that.

But eventually I have to leave home. And when I do, simple, everyday tasks become harsh reminders that I cannot produce children. My body is broken, indefinitely. And I have no way of knowing whether or not it will heal. Only You know. That’s when it gets hard.

Seeing the love and pride my students’ parents have for their children is hard. I may never get the chance to experience those feelings for my own child. And yet, I know You’ve called me to continue working with children. Fighting with insurance about expensive medical prodecures that aren’t considered “necessary” is hard. Why can’t they see that I am only trying to get my body to do what You created it to be able to do? And, if You created it to be able to function in this way, why won’t it? Answering the “Why don’t you have kids yet?” question, and rebounding from the “You should be glad you don’t have kids…” comment is hard. A trip to the store or a walk around my neighborhood and seeing all of the expecting mothers and young families is hard.

Watching my husband play with our friends’ kids, knowing that it’s my body’s fault that he doesn’t have his own kids to play with. That’s hard. He may never get the chance to become a father, because of me. I have robbed him.

In theory, I am supposed to have a worshipful attitude during times like these. But in practice, those are trigger moments for me. Those are moments that throw me into deep holes out of which it may take several days to climb. Then, once I get out, I am often immediately faced with another such trigger moment. It’s a hopeless, relentless, never-ending, life-consuming cycle.

But this is the path down which You are leading me.

I don’t want you to think I am being ungrateful. Some people my age have lost their husbands. I know others who are facing terminal illnesses. I know people who have slept on park benches at night. I thank you everyday that I haven’t had to face those things, yet. And if Job could agree to trust you despite losing everyone he loved and everything he owned, I can surely follow his example and do the same.

I’ll just need You to help me figure out how.