What do you do with this crazy, amazing, plot twisting story that God gave you? I know the God pleasing answer to this big question on my heart is to share my story.
But am I the right one God? I often feel so unqualified. Surely there is some other person out there who struggled with infertility that is more articulate, put together, wise, better versed in the Bible than me. And probably washes their hair on a regular basis. I’m sure they could do a much better job than me. Then I think, but I am qaulified. God qualified me by giving me this story uniquely to our family to be used for His glory. And maybe there is a girl, or two, out there who can identify more closely with me than the perfectly pressed, freshly washed haired infertility advocate I envision.
One of my very favorite parts of the Sarah’s Laughter support group meetings was the beginning. Beth started us off with some creative theme that tied into infertility and always pointed us back to scripture. Sort of a mini-Bible study session. I loved this. I loved being in a room listening to people talk about faith and God. Besides church on Sundays, this was the only time I was ever around conversations like this. And I really craved hearing about how God was working in other people’s lives. It helped me be able to see how He was working in mine too. It allowed me to see how much God cared about infertility. When I “graduated” from the meetings, I really missed these wisdom filled conversations. This past March, as sort of an extension of Sarah’s Laughter, they started up a Bible study on Tuesday nights held at the center. I wasn’t sure if I should do it because it was a several weeks, once a night commitment. I knew it would be healthy to have something outside of the house, away from the babies, for just myself. I knew I would be doing something God honoring with my time, an activity that would fill my soul. So I went. And I’m so glad I did. For me, the hardest part is just walking out the door, taking those first few steps.
I’ll make a confession here friends. It was easier to feel closer to God in the struggle. Walking through infertility, I felt God’s presence. I saw God in my everyday. I found it easy to turn to Him, to seek Him. And I don’t want that to stop because He answered my biggest prayer. I still need Him everyday, probably more now, just in very different ways. I don’t want to only turn to Him when I need something from Him. So I’m trying to figure out how to stay close to God. His presence in my everyday is still there, it is just revealed differently to me after infertility. On the very first night of the Bible study, Sherri- the leader- had unmarked gift bags lined up against the wall. Each gift was different and had a specific quote on a note card. She felt God telling her not to assign the gifts, she wasn’t even sure who was coming, and let us choose the gift ourselves.
My gift had a note card that read
“I hear your prayers. Not one gets past my ears. Wait on me. My timing is perfect.”
It also had this book
I was the only one in the room who received this. Here was God saying to me this Bible study is exactly where He wants me to be. It was a God shout out like “hey girl, I’m still with you. I still see you and hear you. I’ve got your back. This is right for you.” The study focused on Lysa Terkeurst’s book, The Best Yes. I read this book a while ago and LOVED it. I love anything by this lady and her ministry. Oddly enough, I had to give a neighborhood Bible study on this very book (recommended by me) about a year before a “small no.” It was right when we were beginning the IVF process, and along with life in general, I was spread too thin to be able to do it with a loving attitude. I think God was saving it up for me for THIS Bible study. The timing was right this time around. I was able to receive certain parts in this season of my life, that I wouldn’t have a year before. I really enjoyed each woman that was a part of this small little Tuesday night study. We answered the big questions about what fulfills us. We discussed how to be intentional in our Yes’s. Allowing spaces in our schedules and choosing wisely. The answers to these questions look differently for each of us. Margo said yes to starting a blog, yay! yall go read it! All For The Love
Now what? Walking in this new season of life, what does serving God look like? What is a Best Yes for me? Things are different, I’m not attending church consistently and we took a break from serving as a greeters, which I miss so much and one day want to return to, two things that filled my tank and connected me to God. Sherri suggested that I ask Him! Duh, why didn’t I think of that? Ask him everyday, Lord how can I serve you today? I’m figuring it out. The biggest answer I have felt placed on my heart is through my babies. And as Sherri said, motherhood is a ministry. Staying home and pouring love into them is right where I need to be for our family, at this moment. I struggle with not being able to contribute financially to our household, and this will change one day when I return to work, but right now this is my best, Best Yes.
Saying yes to opportunities to share our story is another Best Yes. This is where I get a little uncomfortable. Talking about our journey is very emotional. My voice always gets a little shaky and my hands get really sweaty. This is where I battle with feeling unqualified. I also never want to come across as someone seeking attention, saying “look at me, look at me, look at me” My intentions with saying yes to these opportunities is to say “look at God yall” I never want this platform to be seen as self serving. I share because the purpose of our story is to offer hope and encouragement. To show those in the thick of it, like we once were, what can come out of the wait. And as scary as it is for me, if one person who reads about what God has done in our lives, or hears about it, and decides to join a support group, puts together a Baby Steps 5K team, ask friends and family for help, or just reaches out to one person and opens up about their struggle then I have done my job. If I reach someone, it is worth it. We recently sat down with the local paper, The Advocate, and the local news station, WBRZ, to share our story. I applaud anyone who wants to shine a light on infertility, whether it is a story about Go Fund Me and crowd sourcing, or showing a well rounded picture of what infertility looks like. If I can help them achieve this and spread infertility awareness, sign me up! Our story remains the same, so I am only sharing what I have said many times before, but I know every opportunity reaches a different audience. Still to this day when asked what it felt like to have people fully fund our fertility treatment in a matter of weeks, I can’t help but cry. Thinking about that question, even over a year later I am still overwhelmed. I do not think that feeling will ever go away. And I don’t want it to. I always want to feel so unbelievably grateful, all the time. Saying yes to these opportunities can also look like grabbing coffee with someone really struggling with infertility and just listening, or a friend who is having a procedure done and is nervous about it. It is saying yes to writing letters of appeal for friends wanting to adopt, or be chosen as recipients of fertility grants/treatments. It is purchasing tshirts, or picking up something at a garage sale that is raising money for a couple’s fertility treatments. It is simple text to a friend that says, I’m praying for you, I’m thinking about you.
I always want to be a part of Sarah’s Laughter, in whatever capacity they will have me. Serving in this ministry, giving back to a group that helped me tremendously, will forever be a Best Yes. They are stuck with me. I told Beth, use me however you need me. And I really mean it. If it is speaking at a support group, I’m there. If it means stuffing cups, or writing little encouraging notes, to go to infertility patients during National Infertility Week, count me in. If it means taking out the trash to the dumpster, I’m your girl. Helping Sarah’s Laughter is being so intentional with my time and worth any minute I’m away from B&E.
I do still feel God has placed this blog on my heart. I am just very unsure of where to take it, or what it should look like. I guess I would like a crystal ball to see the end result. When really my job is just to take the next step, and write the next post. I’ll see how it naturally unfolds, which may end up being a slow phasing out. I do feel encouraged to continue to share when I read a comment from someone that I do not know. The other night I was on my way to grab dinner with friends when a number I did not have saved in my contacts called me. I am a big call screener, so it is a call I would normally let go to voicemail. But I picked it up, and on the other end was a girl I went to high school with that I had not spoken to in years. I assumed she was calling to sell me Plexus or something (I’m an awful person. And I’m really sorry for thinking that friend) so as I was bracing myself for the sale, she told me how she has followed my story and through me connected to the Sarah’s Laughter online community. Yall, I was speechless. I just listened to her talk about her journey. I was amazed at her strength and perspective on their struggle. I really don’t think I could have even said anything any better than what she was already saying. It actually encouraged me! I am so thankful that she took the time to track my number down, and call to say hey because of you, I connected with people who supported me. It came on a day that I really had been questioning if I’m doing the right thing being so vocal about infertility, if I should stop blogging because what more do I have to say. Her phone call motivated me, I felt like it was more of a pep talk she gave me! And because of that phone conversation, and comments from people that I do not know, I’m going to continue to give this blog my Best Yes.
I want to leave you with something that, Shelley Giglio, recently shared during a conversation on Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour. If you are like me and wrestle with feeling unqualified, I hope what she touches on speaks to you as much as it did to me.
God uses people who feel so disqualified in life to do the most amazing things…People who were unexpected, that totally were discounted because of a thousand reason, like they are definitely not the right person. And then God says it is them. Some of that is His ability to do whatever He wants, through whoever He wants. And some of it is that He picks sometimes the least likely, I think, because it allows for Him to be big in the story, not the person… He’s like the story is going to be about me and not about you, and your ability. Its going to be about me, and my ability. Then you realize, oh, everybody is qualified. ” – Shelley Giglio