I have been considering whether I should write this page for quite some time. Then I realized, everything I do is based in my faith. I cannot encourage women to shift their focus from the struggles of infertility, if I do not proclaim how faith has helped me heal. This is my testimony.
I remember realizing, during the end of 2007 (only 26 years old), that my life was not going well: I was not fully healing from the loss of our mother, I was in a very bad relationship, I was making very bad decisions, based on what people wanted and when I looked at my heart, it felt ugly. I was ugly because of my choices. During a very lonely, sleepless night, I finally made the decision to just do what God wants me to and I immediately started going to church again, I joined a bible school and I ended my unhealthy relationship (that took a while, but I did it). Almost immediately after that, I met my future husband. We got engaged 6 months later and we got married 6 months after that. Most people would describe it as a whirlwind romance, but it wasn’t. I saw kindness in this man, patience, friendliness, steadfastness, faithfulness and self-control. I knew this would be the man.
During this wonderful time in my life, we were busy studying the book Hebrews in our bible school. Specifically how parents who love their children will always be involved in disciplining their children and that discipline is not always easy and sometimes it actually hurts us, but it shows that God is involved in our lives. Then it hit me… “Why is my life so easy? Doesn’t God love me? Isn’t He involved in my life anymore?” (I had a beautiful little house, a good job, a wonderful husband, everything was calm and peaceful). So, in my own childish way, I was wondering why God was ignoring me… And then all hell broke loose.
First the endometriosis, then the PCOS, then my husband’s tumour and rare blood disease, then the first IVF that almost cost me my life. I remember laying in that hospital bed, our 3rd trip to the emergency room, with a fever of 39.8, not being able to eat, not being able to pee and weighing only 50kg, thinking “God, if I need to die, then please take my life now. If not, then please spare me this suffering.”
I prayed that God would forgive my past sins and the horrible choices I’ve made in my younger days. And I lived. I lost my right ovary, but I was alive. I knew then that God had plans for me. God blessed us with our little girl and only now do I understand what an absolute miracle my little girl is and that God is mighty and will find a way. This sounds holy, but actually, I am NOT at all holy.
I don’t understand God
After a few failed IVF’s I was getting angry. I was looking at the world around me, seeing child abuse, neglected children and children born to parents that cannot care for them. Why did they deserve children and not me? That Sunday our reverend preached from the book of Matthews explaining about a master who hired labourers in the early morning, hiring again through the afternoon and hiring again until the last hour of daylight. When evening came the master gave all the labourers the same wages. The reverend stopped here and asked if this was fair? I was FURIOUS!!! How could this be fair? I would just ensure I was hired later, work fewer hours and still receive the same amount of money! But then she explained the master chooses to give where he sees the biggest need (the master sees your heart). The master is allowed to do what he chooses with what belongs to him and that I shouldn’t resent his generosity. I then understood that God always has a higher plan; I won’t understand it and I shouldn’t have to. I have to trust…
I have struggled with God
But after the 6th or the 7th failed IVF (I lost track), I stormed into our bedroom screaming at God for letting me down again! I was screaming like a demon, like an animal being slaughtered, damning God and His unfaithfulness. I couldn’t cope with the disappointment after I trusted Him and believed in Him, how could He let me down again? And then something amazing happened.
I heard this question: “do you believe in Me because of what I can do for you? Or do you believe in Me for who I am?”
I was stunned. I am not the type of Christian who believes in signs or dreams or voices or scriptures appearing on the wall. Not at all. So I was utterly shocked, into complete silence. I was actually scared. I phoned a friend (who believes in all the above mentioned signs) and she said “I know you don’t believe in such things, but please, pray for scripture.”
I did and I immediately received 3 very powerful verses. It literally told me to stop coveting what other people had, to stop praying for my own selfish wants and to start understanding God’s heart (Malachi 3, Isaiah and James 4). I was speechless. I was beyond scared now. God knew me. God knew what I was busy with. God was aware of my suffering. God was with me. That night, as I prayed with my child to God, asking Him to keep her safe, I heard this question: “why do you trust Me with your child’s safety, but not with your future?”
Since then I haven’t heard another strong, clear voice again, I haven’t received clear scriptures again, I haven’t seen any writing on any walls, but I felt heard. I felt cared for. I felt spoken to. I went ahead and did a few more IVF’s. But I did it with God next to me, I didn’t do it expecting God to immediately give me what I want. Something changed and I think it’s because I’m trying to learn what God is trying to teach me on this journey.
- I know now I cannot measure other people’s success by my own shortcomings.
- I know now that everyone is carrying their own cross.
- I know now that I can overcome this darkness by doing good to others.
- I know God is still taking care of me although my body is broken.
- I’m trying to purposefully be thankful for everything I already have, every day, sometimes every hour.
It’s definitely not easy; there is a downside to constantly being aware of God when you struggle with fertility, because I constantly worry if He is punishing me because of my past sins or if He doesn’t give me another child because I’m a bad mother (or any other dark reason I can think of). But then I try to remember God’s truth: He has good plans, His ways are higher than I could possibly understand, there’s no place I can go where He has not already been, I know His peace, even in suffering, I know He is with me. That is enough for me.
The very bad days
There are still very bad days, but I can bounce back. Brene Brown actually described this beautifully in her book “Gifts of imperfection”. She says that spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us. She says practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives. She says spirituality actually emerged as a component of resilience in her studies. I can testify that this is true. I’m healing because I have hope and I trust in a power higher than myself and God answered me when I needed Him the most. I will keep on praying to fall pregnant, but if I don’t, I will accept that I am not in control. I can only control my attitude towards this.
The spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me, I can overcome by God’s grace.