Who am I when my body fails me? For quite awhile I was someone I didn’t recognize. When I got up in the morning, in the daylight hours, and when I went to bed at night, I had become a different person than I had ever dreamed of being. This was my dream: now that I am married, I will be able to have babies – maybe even twins; twins were in my husband’s family. This was my dream until month after month reality stomped on the dream.
Before infertility was a clanging cymbal in my life, it hardly made any noise at all. The first months of no signs of being pregnant went by normally. The dream stayed alive and I enjoyed thinking about what the future was holding for me. But after twelve months frustration set in, and the journey of infertility reared its ugly head. Month after month my body was failing me.
Family, friends, people on the street, even strangers all were pregnant and having beautiful babies. In church, families stood in the front, surrounding the baptismal font and cradling their babies. So many conversations took place that I could not take part in and was not invited to. Not only did I feel sidelined; I also felt invisible.
From the beginning I prayed to God. But as time went on not only was my body failing me, but so was my God. “From the depths I cry to you, Oh Lord, hear my cry.” But he didn’t. My barrenness overwhelmed me and was unrelenting. It seemed to be the only thing I could see in my life and life itself became barren.
A barren landscape is not the place that I wanted to be. But it was the reality. And it was in this barren place that I began to see, hear, and feel things that I would have missed in a different landscape. It was in the quietness of this bleak place that God began his work with me.
This transformation was not always gentle. I had to learn that even though I felt my prayers had not been answered or heard, God had been by my side. He had not turned his face away from me, and in reality he had been faithful. I had to get my eyes off myself and get a different perspective, one that was reflective of what I said I believed: that I was a child of God and because of that I had value.
God was also gentle with me and patient. I began to see that infertility was disguising gifts that God was offering to me. Once I let go of the dream I had for my life, my hands were empty, but also free to take the gifts that God was offering me.
Yes, my body failed me. I still feel the depth of that, but I also live in the joy of knowing that God is bigger than my dreams. He saw my empty out-stretched hands and has filled them.