While sitting at the indoor bounce house place this week, listening to a podcast, and enjoying the 90 minutes of time to myself, I got a message from a friend. She’s in the middle of the two-week-wait (TWW) (infertile lingo) and in need of prayers. We chatted back and forth, I added her test to my calendar and started praying for her.
Details about our infertile days get fuzzier and fuzzier as years go by. In the early days of our journey, I remember sitting with a fellow infertile who had two tween daughters and listening to her telling us someday we would forget our hormone levels. We’d forget the amount of Follistim we injected too, the number of shots we endured, the amount of chocolate chips on our ovaries during our first monitoring sonogram.
Those facts we held to so tightly would ultimately be replaced by facts about our children and I grabbed on for dear life to her every word. I needed her words to be true.
And now I know, they were and are absolutely true. I’d have to search to find any of those numbers now.
Oh, how grateful I am for fuzzy memories.
But there are so many other things, more than numbers, I can never forget, like those long days in the two-week-wait. They are unforgettable.
What I remember above all else in those two-week-waits was my intense need to control my own emotions.
Joy wrestled to the ground.
On top of the mess, Gratitude stood tall, pointing fingers at all the other things in my life to notice, doggedly distracting me from all the sister emotions my heart simply could not find a place for right then.
Gratitude, Y’all, she allowed me to breathe, to see God in the ordinary, to be the fun girl at the doctor’s office. She gave me space to worship my Father authentically and whole-heartedly leave Worry for the next day.
But that was my journey.
I know every experience uniquely belongs to the person doing the walking. I may have taken a similar path, seen the some of the same roadside attractions, even stopped at the same rest stops, but God teaches us and reaches us in the ways He created us to learn and receive.
God used Gratitude to teach and reach me. He may use something completely different for someone else.
For years, I have been trying to teach and reach other infertiles the same way God did with me. Through Gratitude. I so firmly believe in the transformative power of a heart positioned to offer sacrifices of thankfulness to our Creator. Gratitude actually does change everything.
But my insistence, while honest and genuine, may have done more harm than good.
The last thing any of us needs when we are walking the road of suffering is to hear how we are doing it all wrong.
And for that, I am so incredibly sorry.
Instead of insisting my infertile sisters grab on to Gratitude to make it through their days, I am finding my role as their placeholder to be more of an honorable, loving, kind position to take when they invite me to walk with them.
Hope and excitement and joy and gratitude, I can hold on to those for them.
When they are ready, when God directs them, they will pick them back up all on their own.
When you need to bury the hope this treatment will be the last because you’ve thought that the previous 38 months in a row and you’re heart can’t take it anymore, I will hold Hope for you joyfully.
When you need to stifle your excitement at the progress or the higher chances because you know nothing is guaranteed and everything, even the worst things, are still an absolute possibility, I will hold Excitement for you expectantly.
When you need to wrestle that joy of victory over the ovaries who never ovulated or the embabies who survived the thaw or the removal of the endometriosis tissue, I will hold Joy for you triumphantly.
When you can’t get a hold of your emotions, when you can’t stop planning the pregnancy announcement, when you can’t keep the tears in check, I will stand with Gratitude on top of the mess of suffering and hold you up.
My job is not to win the battle for you or even try and force you to win exactly as God won mine.
No, my job is to offer you a place of rest and hold your hands up for you while you continue to allow God to fight for you.
Friend, who are you holding on for? Whose arms are getting tired? Who needs rest in your life?
Call them. Show up with donuts. Do their laundry.
Their victory is coming. Jesus has already finished the work in our lives.
But every victory, every battle, every winning strategy is unique because each one of us is unique.
Jesus isn’t going to call you to Himself with the same words He called me.
You deserve better than someone’s second-hand calling.
No, you get your very own, specific, precious calling.
And as you wait for that victory, I will gratefully hold on to the emotions and spaces you simply cannot right now.