Monday, January 11, 2010

God's faithfulness explained

Today I attempt to write a post I have no idea how to write. This will probably be long, and I thought about breaking it into multiple parts, but I think I just need to write it all down.

As I alluded to in my post yesterday, God has been very faithful to us in these last couple days, and we have been filled with humble thankfulness that he would be so good to us. At the same time, our hearts have felt like they are breaking and grief has become a new part of our lives.

The grief began on Wednesday when DH dropped the bomb that he was leaning against us doing IVF. He had no specific reasons, but said he somehow felt that perhaps God was calling us to not take that step and to trust him in whatever that meant. I don't think DH could even fathom what that would mean for us in our lives. That night began my deep, deep sadness as I realized that could truly mean God is calling us to not have biological children. The weight of that, the hopes and dreams crushed, and the uncertainty of the life ahead has felt like my heart is breaking into tiny, sharp pieces.

However, as I sobbed DH reminded me that we had not decided AGAINST IVF. He said we may still do it. But that grief had already been unleashed. In my heart I wanted to hope that we would do IVF, and that God would bless us with a pregnancy through it. But the reality of no pregnancy felt more real, more possible.

On Saturday I took a home pregnancy test for IUI #4, which had also suddenly felt like it could be our last IUI. While I waited for the urine to pass through the test strip, I decided to grab something I needed out of my purse to distract me. As I came back into the bathroom, DH was hunched over the test. He wanted it to be positive so badly. We both did. We wanted to leave the grief behind us. But he looked up at me and I knew the answer. I examined the test myself to make sure there was no faint, faint line, and then tossed it in the trash.

We had to continue walking this road.

Later in the day DH brought up the topic of IVF again. We had decided to wait to talk about it until we knew the results of the IUI, but DH actually bringing it up was surprising. He is incredibly supportive, but somehow has the special (male?) ability to just not think about this stuff on his own. But he had been thinking, and he has continued to do so. This has all become more real to him in this past week, too.

DH told me that he does think we should do IVF. You would think I would have jumped for joy and began planning my next cycle - that's what I thought I would do! But I didn't. I did feel a little hope return to my heart, but I wanted to take small steps forward. I knew nothing was decided and that we could very well swing back to the non-IVF side, so I guarded my heart in this discussion.

I asked DH why he thought differently, and he said it was simply because he knew we had to take a step in some direction. And deciding to NOT do IVF would most likely set us on the path towards adoption, but he didn't feel like God was calling us to that yet. The flip side would be moving forward with IVF, and since he has not sensed God saying "no" to this that it was logical to move forward. I agreed, but did not feel much joy. I felt pained that we were even in this position, and that we were in a lose-lose place. Proceeding with IVF does not feel like a "winner," nor does giving up on trying for biological children. I believe that no path that God would set us on is ultimately a "loser," and that we have hope in him on either path...but in that moment I couldn't feel that.

Later that night we again had a discussion. We toyed with the idea of more IUI's as we waited on the Lord to make a decision about IVF. My main prayer for those last few days had been for clarity. I did not know how this decision would be made clear to us, and I asked God to guide our steps. I felt like we had a long wait of uncertainty ahead of us.

Now, I must stop here and say that if you are not a Christian, this is going to sound really weird to you. Even if you are a Christian this is going to sound weird! I have never had an experience like this, and while I know God speaks to us in many ways, I can't say he ever spoke to me like this. Bear with me.

We got ready for bed really late that night, tired and worn after an emotional day of wrestling with this large decision. As DH took a shower, I stood in the mirror flossing my teeth. Suddenly, a thought popped into my mind. Treatments won't work.

I stood staring at myself in the mirror. Was that God speaking to me? Did God just answer my prayer for clarity so quickly and specifically? But if it was him, I didn't like what he told me. I wanted God to speak to me with encouragements and hopeful things - not this. This was not the answer I wanted.

I asked God if that was him, and tried to push the thought aside. Surely you wouldn't tell me that, Lord! That statement felt like God was saying to stop treatments, and I just felt like God couldn't ask that of me. I didn't want to be done. I started crying. But how could I not be done if he had just told me treatments won't work for us?

I got in bed and kept trying to forget about that thought. Maybe it wasn't even from God - maybe it was just my fears. DH came into the room, saw me crying, and asked why. My first reaction was to not tell him what I had thought, because that would make it real. He might believe that God said that to me and agree we should stop treatments, and I wasn't ready to accept that. But I knew I couldn't withhold this from DH, and I needed him to help discern if that was indeed God speaking to me and what it would mean for us.

DH didn't really have much to say about it, but we prayed for confirmation of what I had heard and went to sleep. I attempted to sleep, at least, but I couldn't stop crying. As much as I tried to push the thought away and deny it, I felt like it was from God. And it hurt. I finally drifted off to sleep but woke far too early and was again crying.

That morning DH held me like a baby as I sobbed. I was curled up in a ball on his chest and DH just kept telling me he was so sorry and that it broke his heart to see mine breaking.

In the midst of my sadness I tried to express to DH the profoundness of what had happened. That God had heard my cries and confirmed this by speaking to me so clearly. And if it was his will for us to not conceive via fertility treatments, then what a blessing to know now than after failing 3 IVF cycles that would be expensive, emotional, and physically demanding. It felt like he was protecting us. And DH said that God will be faithful to us. As I cried in his arms, we spent some sweet time remembering other hard decisions and places we had been in our lives, and how God had always been faithful. Granted, none of those decisions were even close to the magnitude of this one, but if God had been faithful in a series of small things, we knew he would be faithful in this. I still don't want to hear what God told me, but I am thankful for the confirmation that he is actively working in my life, that he hears my prayers, and he is guiding us. What a blessing.

I wish I could end this post and tell you that DH & I feel tremendous peace, we are stopping treatments, and moving on to something else. But I can't. We have been in utter turmoil, and in the last 24 hours doubts have crept in. I think as DH has more emotionally faced the reality of not having biological children, he doesn't feel ready to give up. He has suggested we do more IUI's. I don't want to stop, but in light of what I believe God said to me I cannot muster the strength to do an IUI. We shared a lot of this with DH parents, and they don't want us to stop treatments. And I wonder if I really heard God? How do I know it was God? My best friend said, "What if it was Satan?" Or I think in a more "spiritual" way that perhaps God is reminding me that it is HE who creates life and not treatments - but maybe that doesn't mean we shouldn't DO treatments. See, I am all over the place!

We have thrown many ideas out there: adoption, embryo adoption, more IUI's, a second opinion with another urologist, acupuncture for DH, or just doing nothing. We have no idea. And so we wait for further guidance from the Lord.

I do feel peace and certainty about NOT returning to the RE when AF comes this cycle. And I believe that God will continue this work he has began in us. He will be faithful. And I cling to this promise:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

30 comments:

Baby Wanted said...

What a beautiful post!

Summer {Bisfor...} said...

you are a beautiful person and i admire your faith. i really do.

i just made my baby blog private. would love for you to follow.

Tabitha said...

What a deep post! I'll be praying for you and your DH as God guides your hearts and leads you to your next decision. My suggestion would be to just give yourselves some time, let yourselves greive, and wait to see what God has in store. Right now your in pain, and that's never a good state to be in while making a decision, it's hard to decifer God's voice when your hurting. (((HUGS)))

Life Happens said...

I literally got chills when I got to the part about the thought that popped into your head about treatments won't work. Sometimes the Lord speaks to us in that still small voice and we just have to have faith and believe in it.

Maybe it's His way of telling you to take a break as you both pray about what it is you're suppose to do next.

Maybe He's telling you that treatments won't work, RIGHT NOW, but that doesn't mean that they won't work later.

One thing I've learned through all this IF stuff is that the Lord's timeline isn't always our timeline. We just need to continue to be faithful and He will bless us. I will continue to pray for you guys.

Leah said...

I had a similar epiphany before my IVF #1. Something inside of me was telling me that treatment wouldn't work. I went into both IVF's (I ended up doing 2) not having a lot of faith that they would work. A part of me even felt like I was rushing THE PLAN.

Well, I went through with IVF anyway, and we all know how that turned out.

I wish someone could give you the answers you and your DH need. But of course only you can make the decision of where to go from here. I remember people telling me that quitting treatment was giving up, but it wasn't. I needed to move on to be happy. I couldn't endure more treatments. We all have our own breaking points, and I had reached mine. I ended up pregnant. In HIS timing. And I trust that things happened how they were supposed to. And I really trust that they will for you too.

Thinking of you.

Amanda said...

That's quite a revelation to come to. I honestly don't know how I could have quit treatments short of God standing in front of me and telling me in person that it won't work... so taking that path will require a lot of courage, because it is a devastation decision in a way. Giving up on a dream isn't easy, but hopefully a new dream will help you to see your path.

Christa said...

What a wonderful post. It was really touching to read. I suppose your message from God can only be likened to that of a parent who is trying to tell you not to do something, only because they went through the pain themselves and they want you to avoid it. Most of the time you don't listen, do it anyway and maybe experience some pain and grief through it all. But no matter what, when you need it most, your parent will be there for you.

I invite you to read an article I found and posted on my blog. This helps me get through the really tough times. I hope everything works out for you!

http://christasbabyquest.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-do-i-think-god-meant-when-he-gave.html

rachel said...

Well, my heart has been heavy for you for the past few days. And while I do very much believe that God can give us clear "revelations", I also think you are right in having a prayerful response to what you feel. Sometimes I think I want answers to problems right away, but sometimes I wonder if the answer is really in the journey itself. Not sure if that makes sense, but I guess part of me prays that God is not just "answering" your hearts questions, but that He's been speaking to you all along. I know He's preparing you guys for something great, something that is HIS Best.

Praying praying praying.
rachel
p.s. you inspired me to start a blog! maybe I'll actually keep it up.

Melissa G said...

I so wish I could give you a giant bear hug right now. The pain is so evident in your post, it just breaks my heart.

I'm not very religious, but I am spiritual, and I do pray. Your experience did not sound weird at all. I actually think it sounded pretty amazing, and for me it further cemented the depth of your faith. I know you must feel pretty helpless right now, but clearly your faith and marriage is immensely powerful. And I truly believe that they will carry you during this difficult time.

If you need anything, you know how to find me.

Find joy in every journey said...

My DH and I have been there, and it isn't a pretty place. Following and listening to God' will is never easy. I do beleive that He has the power to create life, and His timing is always better than ours, but it hurts to know that. Prayers for you while you decern what to do next.

Just Us... said...

Have you ever watched Doubt? Not the same plot line, but a movie worth watching none the less--I don't know why I think of this now...but watch it...

At any rate...I wish you successful clarity no matter what the outcome!

Hugs.

Kelli said...

You are so strong and so brave. God is faithful and although treatments may or may not work, he will work it all out for you - that is His promise. Prayers for peace and clarity coming your way.
xo

Stuart and Sarah Creamer said...

Wonderfully strong and brave you are! God is faithful and I know He will continue to guide you in the right direction!

Melis.sa said...

I will pray for you and your dh. My heart is heavy for you and I want you to know that you've been on my mind and in my prayers.

I read this post yesterday and it really spoke to me and the power of faith

http://www.kellyskornerblog.com/2010/01/faith.html

((HUGS))

Missy said...

I will be praying for you to find clarity and peace in this process. Your post reminds me of something my youth group leader said many years ago that stuck with me. He said we shouldn't pray for peace, b/c then God will give us something for which we need to be strong through. I liked the idea of praying for clarity, although sometimes the clarity we find is not what we sought for initially.

As I was reading your post, I was thinking of embryo adoption. I had never thought of it before, but just today a friend IRL mentioned it to me as I said I didn't think we could do IVF if IUI was not successful. I see that you are considering and it is something I want to look into. Although it doesn't give a genetic link a child, it does give some of what you want to experience.

Astrid said...

I think it's natural, after so much disappointment, to have thoughts of failure. I don't think you should read too much into the fear, that can't be what God wants. I think you are being left in this turmoil so that you and DH will be forced to follow your hearts. To face the fear. To do whatever you can with the gifts you have. God is not in the crystal ball business which makes me think your doubts did not come from him. God is into faith and hope and as long as you have that, and know him, I don't think you can go wrong whichever path you choose. Ultimately, I think the lesson from god here is that these decisions are difficult and emotional and painful, but we still have to make them. He will not forsake you, whichever path you choose. Know that and go with confidence into the next chapter. That, I believe, is what he wants for you.

Angie said...

I am so sorry this is so difficult. It is such a painful path. You are at a crossroads, so to speak, so take your time.

I wondered the same as another commenter, that maybe God was speaking to your heart to stop treatments now but not for good.

It sounds like you have made some progress by making the decision to not go to the RE w/ the arrival of AF this month. So celebrate that small step as you consider the possibilities!

The Swann's said...

I keep re-writing this comment for fear of what to say/not to say...

The last week or say I have come across several blogs, friends have suggested, and other trusted Christian Friends that I should fast to really truly pray about our fertility struggle... Just this morning, my cousin whom I have not spoken to in months called me to tell me she felt the Lord was leading her to talk to me about fasting. To get ultimate clarity. I didn't follow everything she was saying to be honest as I have not read up on it but felt while reading your post to suggest it to you as well. I'm personally googling the heck out of fasting and plan to start some sort of fast soon...

Oh, and why I really think it was a God thing? I don't read long posts... I'm a skimmer but for some reason, I read every single typed word you wrote.

I will be praying for you to gain some clarity, whatever it may be, and that you will know without a doubt that it is God breathed...

Mellow said...

Wow, my heart is heavy for you...and your words are so familiar to me as these were things I felt for the 10 years that we prayed desperately for another baby. God will always see you through the valleys of your life, and the key is that you will go through the valley and you will not stay in it. Seeking Him is the right thing to do when you don't know what else to do...

I will be praying for you.

Waiting said...

Amazing post! I pray that God will continue to speak a clear direction to you!

Kate said...

What a beautiful, honest post. Thank you for sharing. You and your DH are in my prayers as you move through this.

A said...

I read this yesterday but had to think about it and wanted to wait to comment for a while. Well, I've prayed for you, and re-read this again just now. I want you to know that your prayer for clarity is THE MOST FREQUENT prayer of mine, for us in our journey. Clarity of God's will for us is HUGE, and sometimes I feel like I'm searching for clarity in the darkest of nights. I stand with you in your prayer, and I hope that God will lead you with a hand that is undeniably His. I pray He'll give you peace until He leads you down one path versus another. I am the #1 worst for second-guessing myself with messages I think are from God, but I have decided recently that I have to stop second guessing them so much, in case they truly are from God and here I am, second guessing God!

None of this is easy :) Lay your burdens down- I know that God would love to carry you through :)

Hannah said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I really appreciate your honesty. I've often wondered if I am open enough to listen for God to guide me or speak to me when I'm so emotional over everything with IF. I hope so, but I need to work on that. And I second-guess everything as well. Thanks again for sharing this, and I will be praying for you!

Michelle said...

I'm a lurker (I should have 'fessed up a couple of posts ago). I think you are the friend of a friend whose blog I also read. Anyway, I love this post. My hubby and I were so there a few years ago. SO confused, SO confounded. God was both clear and unclear in His direction. He WAS faithful. Our little family has grown but it did not happen anything like we thought. God will be fatihful to you, too. Someday - I don't know when, but someday - you will finally be in a place where you can relax and enjoy life instead of always wondering where life will take you next. God will bless you - most likely in unexpected ways - for enduring this (which I think is the hardest trial a person could ever endure).

Anonymous said...

1st let me just say that i am so sorry you are going through so much pain and that I will continue to pray for you and your husband. The unknown is the hardest thing for most people to deal with - which is why having faith is so important...at the same time it can be hard and confusing. I hope that what ever you decide to do AND at whatever point you do it - that it brings you peace and happiness.

-21reena

AplusB said...

This is a beautiful post. I think it is wonderful that you and your husband are spending so much time deciding what's next. Hoping much peace and clarity for you both.

Al said...

This is such a beautiful post. I wish I had some wise words for you, but only you can know what the right next steps are. I wish you and your DH much peace and resolve as you decide what the next steps of your journey are.

julie said...

You may feel lost right now, but you really are not lost at all. You are following your heart and the path to where God is leading you. Take some time to heal and it will all become clear. Stay strong.

Melody said...

Hillary,
Thank you for still sharing in the midst of your pain. You have allowed us to walk so far on this path with you and I'm amazed that you are still this honest and transparent with your readers.

I'm so sorry. I am praying with you for clarity. There's nothing wrong with asking God to say it again if you are unsure it was your own head messing with you or if it was the Spirit of God speaking into your soul.

Praying for you my friend!

Aussie Girl said...

Hillary, as I read your post my heart went out to you. I have been in the same place as you, do we do IVF, do we not, how do we know God's will in this, what is right? So many uncertainties in this TTC journey. But many certainties in God, including the verse you wrote from Romans. God is faithful, he never leaves or forsakes us, and he has our future secure in Christ.
Thanks for commenting on my blog, I'll be praying for you and your husband as you seek God's will.