The Beginnings of Baby Fever
So hard to know how to put into words something that has been so deeply tucked in my heart since…well, really since the day I was born.
As the youngest of four and a forever lover of EVERY baby I have ever met, I have always known I was made to be a Mom. I always played with two kinds of baby dolls: the ones that looked just like me and the ones that looked nothing like me at all. For as long as I can remember, I have yearned to have a house full of children, some birthed by me and some that God places in our home at whatever age, of whatever race, from whatever background, that part never mattered to me.
The very day my husband and I first met (now eleven years ago!) at the ages of 15 and 17, the very first conversation we had at a mutual friend’s birthday party was all about the heart of God for orphans and children. As his adorable little 6-year-old brother who had tagged along with him sat smiling on his lap, my teenage heart melted at the thought of this “older man” (haha!) that longed to be a father to the fatherless just as much as I longed to be a mother to the motherless.
Fast forward six years, and we found ourselves standing in front of 300 of our closest family and friends, proclaiming the goodness of Jesus as we promised to love one another for the rest of our lives. That day was the most precious day of my life, and I will never, ever forget the joy and worship that exuded from every fiber of our beings as we saw how faithful God was to keep us for one another despite long distance college dating, multiple break ups, and all the major life changes that occur between the ages of 15 and 23.
Fast forward to now, nearly 5 years later, and here we are at a very different crossroads indeed.
For over two years at this point we have been trying to have our first baby.
Trying and what I used to call failing. But seriously, how can you “try” to make something happen and “fail” to make something happen that you really have no control over in the first place?
We’ve had more than 24 monthly disappointments, mixed with what seems like endless announcements of dear friends getting pregnant, many now twice pregnant since we began trying, and many getting pregnant that did not desire it at all in the first place.
I cannot begin to put into words what a difficult, emotional road this has been for me (and my husband too). Anyone who has known us for any length of time knows that we are both emotional people. We are the people that other people call “the criers.” We are usually the first ones to cry and consequently say or do something to make the rest of the room cry, too. Up until this point, it was usually tears of gratitude and joy.
But it seems like for the past two years, day after day, most of what I have cried are tears of pain.
Deep pain. Deep hurt. Deep fear. Deep doubt. Deep loneliness.
I have cried more tears than I knew could possibly be stored up in my body. I have questioned my faith, my God, the validity of my desires to be a Mom, heck I have even questioned my own sanity! I have burst out crying at other people’s announcements of pregnancy multiple times, been on the brink of stepping down as worship leader at my church because of my struggles with doubt, cried out to God again and again and again with seemingly no answer……
And do you know what I’ve found at the total end of myself?
More of Jesus.
A deeper understanding of a God who felt it necessary to come down into this broken world and experience suffering and hurt and rejection and loneliness and pain in a way that doesn’t just equal the suffering of his people, but FAR surpasses it in a way we will never fully understand this side of heaven.
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” Isaiah 53:4-5a
Jesus has not only suffered for us, but he also now suffers with us. Whatever you are suffering, however you are suffering.
Whether you’re mourning the tragic loss of a loved one, constantly struggling with a relationship you can never seem to reconcile, suffering from chronic anxiety or depression that you so deeply wish would just go away, picking up the pieces of your life after a totally unexpected divorce, or feeling unsettled and down about the mundaneness of your daily life and the way things in general just never seem to go your way…
KNOW that He is there. Jesus is there, with you, right now, even when you don’t feel him or hear him or see him.
As I have daily been on my knees begging God to give me a baby, I have realized something about this phenomena known as “baby fever.” We ALL have it in some way.
This constant, aching desire for newness of life.
This tugging at our hearts for something more.
This profound knowledge that life just isn’t supposed to be like this.
And people aren’t supposed to die and spouses aren’t supposed to be unfaithful and mothers and father aren’t supposed to abandon their children and women aren’t supposed to be infertile!
I don’t know what lies ahead of our family on this journey. I do not know if I will ever be pregnant or if the Lord desires for us to only adopt or if one day he will grant us the desire of our heart to both adopt and experience pregnancy.
I don’t know if we will end up adopting from other countries (and which countries?) or do foster care or adopt older children or go through adoption agencies (and which agencies?) and how many children will end up formally calling us Mom and Dad…
BUT I do know that the Lord is with me in my “baby fever.” He is with all of us in our aching for life to be the way it was meant to be. And the really good news is even in this broken, sinful, infertile world, through us broken, sinful, infertile people, He is slowly, steadily, powerfully, beautifully, subtly making all things new.
“Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…to comfort all who mourn…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3
I want to encourage you today, especially if you are the one in six couples out there struggling with infertility, dare to pray for more than just getting pregnant. Pray that God would grow within you more of his character and show you how to reach out to those suffering around you. Ask him to show you that the pain of him deconstructing your own story for yourself may be the thing that prepares you the most for the way your children, however they come about, are going to help with that deconstruction of your own sense of control (Am I right Moms out there?!).
My tears of pain are slowly but surely turning into tears of gratitude and joy again, and this time in a more profound way than I could have ever imagined. My sincere hope is that this post and the future posts to come will be an encouragement to all of us living in the in between of God’s promises and their fulfillment. May we all be brave enough to be honest about suffering and watch in awe at the way God might choose to use us to bind up even one other brokenhearted person along the way.