I have a bad relationship with hope. Sometimes I binge. Sometimes I avoid it altogether. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick….”- so says the wisest man who will ever live aside from Jesus himself (Proverbs 13:12). In our journey for offspring, grasping at hope has been a rollercoaster.
I’ve been told how important HOPE is during our battle so many times. But I didn’t understand it. Why should I be so foolish?
Sometimes pushing for hope is like investing stock into typewriters or landlines or pagers…. unwise. With my cycles usually lasting 26-29 days, we have tried for 66 cycles total. I’m no mathematician, but our natural odds of conceiving are proven not that great. It would not be wise for me to invest my emotions into hoping that this month, this treatment to work.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I’ve been walking around with a heart that’s sick.
-I keep hoping that this’ll be the last New Years, Mother’s Day, birthday, Christmas towing just my food-baby. I AM SO SICK. My heart is broken.
How do I have a good relationship with hope again?
My hope IS in Christ. But the enemy tries to twist it even still. I’ve run into a handful of comments, blogs, & quotes during our journey that have pushed me to believe God is going to do exactly xyz for me, if only I do dot dot dot.
So what do I say to the people whose faith didn’t produce children? To the parents who gave up on treatment and finally fell back on adoption (not that adoption is always a second or last choice). Do I blame the victim? You’re faith wasn’t big enough. Do I blame God? He doesn’t love them like he loves the one who received the miracle. THAT is PREPOSTEROUS.
I’ve heard sermons that tell me that my outcome is based on my faith level- if I don’t activate my faith, God can’t activate His reward. I’ve even heard from the pulpit that God is waiting for me to praise Him loud enough to bless me. Sweet sister, if this is what you also are hearing all around you, may I encourage you to rest. Know that this is a twist of God’s heart for you. We’ve made God out to be a sugar daddy and our prayers and spiritual services as payment for a vending machine miracle. But that is NOT the God of the Bible.
I sat for many weeks mulling over what it means to be God-honoring in my hope level. Finally, it hit me. As a Christian, my hope is not in the outcome. not in the solution. not in the doctor.
My hope is in Christ. I know I can trust in His Character.
Watch the below clip from 12:26 to 14:10
There’s so much depth to the spiritual aspect of infertility, or any season of prolonged waiting. Being faithful doesn’t mean you expect, plan and anticipate xyz by xyz date. Faithfully hoping in the Lord means to believe that maybe my plan isn’t what will happen, but God still has a plan. God is still good. God can redeem everything, even this. God hasn’t forgotten or abandoned me, or you. God is sovereign. God is still in control.
Psalm 20:17 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
- When this was written, chariots were the IVF of technology. Horses were like the United Airlines (somewhat temperamental at times). Our hope is not in the treatment or the doctors, our hope and trust is in the Lord. He is the most reliable investment. It’s simply logical.
If you’re like me and hate to read, you can park here and get the gist of the post. If you want to read further details of our journey and how my view of “hope” has been formed, continue reading 😉
Along the road, we’ve had many “hope” moments:
-The day we got off birth control and expected to be pregnant within 2 months (ha).
-The day Allan had his surgery for varicocele, his urologist told me we shouldn’t have any trouble conceiving and to go home and try for another year.
-The day I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, my doctor calmly said it wasn’t that bad, and if anything, I’ll just need a few rounds of Clomid (the gateway fertility drug).
-The day my biopsy showed no breast cancer and we were cleared for fertility treatment.
-The day I started Clomid. My monitoring appointment showed 3 beautiful follicles and my RE assured me that I should get pregnant that month, possibly with triplets. <<only to tell me after it failed that my lining was a 5.5mm (bad), which actually hurt my chances of conceiving>>
-The day I started Letrozole (also called Femera, another fertility drug).
-The day I started injectables (3 or 4xs the cost of my fertility drug months).
-The day my parents offered to pay for another round of injections.
-The day our friend told us that “God told him” that we would conceive by the end of 2016.
-The day we learned of a ministry in Thailand that hopes to begin an abandoned baby ministry.
-The day we won a free IVF from our doctor (Lu) thru Sarah’s Laughter ministry
All of these moments got our hopes up. Most of them were false hope. But you know what, I’ve learned to guard my heart. Full faith does not mean crash and burn. It doesn’t mean investing into beepers.
My least guarded moment was during Clomid. I really started to believe I was pregnant during my 2WW (2 week wait-before testing). That was one of my lowest moments after hoping/expecting so much.
While in Thailand, I did start falling in love with every baby I saw, picturing myself surrounded by 5 beautiful dark-skinned babies, elbows deep in diapers and learning the Thai language right along side them. Each of the 5 times we have moved during our marriage, I’ve envisioned where the tire swing will go in the yard, I’ve picked out where the nursery would be. So when we were asked to dream on the actual property where they would build the home for abandoned babies, I had a check in my spirit. I knew not to let my heart go there.
Even when they were announcing the winners at the baby steps, I knew to coach myself to cheering for the winners and hope that someone I knew won. I mean, we had a 1% chance of winning. The night before baby steps, I was crying. I was crying because I didn’t want to go visit a couple that just announced they were pregnant. I was crying because I didn’t like who I’ve become. I didn’t like that I was happy for them but sad for me. I felt selfish (though it is a natural and normal part of grieving during infertility). I was crying because I’m marked by infertility far more than I care to admit. I was crying because that was our last friend who hadn’t conceived yet. We were very much the last ones out of my husband’s core friend group. I was hopeless.
I don’t regret even the false hope moments. Because they came at a time when I was hanging by a thread. I see God redeem the false hope as strength for today. Most of those didn’t translate to a live baby. But they did give me grace to face the storm. They were umbrellas. I still got wet from the storm, but not drenched.
You see, God is faithful, even when we don’t see Him moving.
He is actually carrying us when we think we are fighting alone (just like the old footprints in the sand story).
One day we will see in full what we only see in part now. I’m confident that on that day, it will all make 100% sense. On this side of the miracle, in the waiting and waiting and waiting, please know that what you are facing and what I’m facing is not too big for the Lord. It may not be safe to hope in a particular outcome or remedy, but it will always be safe to trust and hope in the Lord.