When God Brings You to Your Knees
For as long as I remember, I only wanted one thing out of my life. To be a mother. With great joy and anticipation, I married my high school sweetheart, dreaming of babies soon filling our house. My favorite cologne was Eau de Baby Powder. Whenever I was in the department store, my radar honed in on those adorable, teeny-tiny little baby socks. And those girly tights with the ruffles on the butt.
Trust me, I bugged my husband to death about starting our family. He was in no rush. I, on the other hand, at 24 years of age, felt my biological clock about to strike midnight.
At long last, we came to the agreement that it was time. I was convinced that in nine months, I would snuggle our precious little one. My life would be complete. It was all I could do not to rush out and buy a crib and a stroller.
The pregnancy test people made a fortune off of me. But month after month, the stick never showed two lines. Or a plus sign. Or turned blue.
We entered the bewildering world of infertility. Tests and surgeries and handstands. Yes, we tried it all. Our doctor’s Japanese accent was so thick his nurse had to translate for him. We dutifully did everything he told us.
But no baby.
Then my friends began having children. When they shared their good news, I superglued a smile onto my face and gushed with them. Inside, my heart ground through the paper shredder. Every time I heard another announcement, I went home and bawled.
The most painful statements included the word “oopsy.” “Oopsy, we’re pregnant.” “Oopsy, we weren’t planning on that.” “Oopsy, how could that have happened?”
I’d take an “oopsy” any day.
I only shared my private pain with a few. My emotions were too raw. I didn’t want questions about our treatments. I didn’t want pitying stares. I didn’t want platitudes.
Month after month, we rode that emotional roller coaster until we puked.
I reached my breaking point. I told God in no uncertain terms what I thought of this. He gave a teenager the gift I should have received. This unmarried girl could provide nothing for her child. No stability, no security, no father.
What had we done wrong that He withheld this blessing from us? We waited until our wedding night to be intimate. My husband had a good job, making enough that I could be a stay-at-home mom. We owned our own home and a piece of property in the country where we planned to build our dream house, complete with a swing set.
How could He let this happen to us? It wasn’t fair.
I collapsed to the floor, sobs tearing from my chest.
It wasn’t fair.
And then, in a still, small voice, God through the Holy Spirit whispered His comfort.
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.
We had studied that very verse, Romans 8:28, in Bible study that morning. Many years ago, I memorized it, and it was one of my favorites. God works together for the good of those who love Him, right? Well, I loved Him. Where was the good? Certainly not in this.
In all things.
Yes, yes, I knew that part of the verse.
In all things.
But not this.
In all things.
In all things.
The Lord continued to reassure me. Yes, in all things, He works for the good of those who love Him. Even when bleakness dims your vision and shakes your faith. Behind the scenes, unknown to us, He has a perfect plan written for each one of His children.
Though it sounds corny and cliché, He lifted my burden. Peace cloaked me. For the first time in years, I breathed.
The stick still didn’t turn blue, but neither did I. When our doctor told us our only option was in-vitro, we turned our focus to adoption. No, it wasn’t easy to walk away from my dream of carrying a child for nine months, watching my belly swell, feeling my son or daughter move inside me. But when I submitted to God’s perfect, sovereign plan for my life, I was able to open my eyes and see that He was calling us to adopt.
One year later, as I held my beautiful, brown-eyed, five-month-old son in my arms for the first time, I could truly say that the Lord works all things, even the difficult, painful things, together for the good of those who love Him.
Liz Tolsma’s first novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013 and was a 2014 Selah Award finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist. Her next novella, “World’s Greatest Love,” appears in the collection Rails to Love in October 2016. She is a popular speaker on such varied topics as writing, marriage, family, and adoption, and living with courage. Liz now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. You can visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), and LinkedIn.