An Open Letter to Infertility
In 2017, an adoptive mom and Lifesong matching grant recipient moved our audience by candidly sharing her experience with infertility. Today, nearly 4 years later, her words still resonate deeply. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, enjoy this special guest post from the Lifesong Blog archives…
Nearly 5 years ago, you were just an idea or a thing that happened to someone else. But not to me.
And I would shake my head in sadness for all those women who suffered at your hands. You were a distant enemy, all those years ago. And then you were not so distant.
And four lost babies later? I knew who you were.
Three agonizingly short pregnancies, one surgery, two natural miscarriages, and more poking and prodding and asking deeply personal questions than I ever thought possible…and I knew you were my greatest foe, standing between me and the thing my heart longed for with a greater ferocity than I could have imagined: to mother. You were my truest enemy, my greatest fear, and a label I brushed away tearfully time and again.
But now we are friends, Infertility.
I’m not sure that’s anything I ever thought I would say. But I need to be straightforward and honest and I believe it’s true: we are at peace, you and me. And how is this even possible?
You crept up on me and at your bloody hands my babes were lost and at the sound of your voice my whole body ached and rocked with the pain of hope deferred. You were the thief and the liar and the voice of you’ll never have, you’ll never have, you’ll never have…
And these few short years later, here I stand. Here I stand.
For you are not a conqueror and you are not victorious. I crawled to my knees and stood on shaky legs and held on for dear life as the Father began to restore to me what is precious and the year I said I want to know Jesus is enough you began to change shape.
You are no longer the enemy I so greatly feared.
I can call you friend because at the hand of Almighty God, I have come to know and believe that the only thing defining me is the shed blood of Christ on the cross, His life for mine, His grace to cover my own bloody sins and His perfection is all I need.
It’s true, physically speaking, that I am “infertile.” My womb is broken and as far as the Father has revealed, it is not to be repaired. But this is not the end of the story.
In fact, Infertility, you are not even my story. You are one tiny little blip on the radar. You are a plot twist in an epic novel so great that I dare not attempt to glorify your place in it. This story the Father is telling in my life and in my family’s life includes you – but, my friend, it includes you to use you. My story includes you to use you as a means to glorify the Author of Life.
Because if I may be frank:
Not even you can stand between me and my children, however they come to me.
Infertility, we are friends.
Not because I longed for you or loved you, but because I love a Love so great that He would not allow me to be named by anything other than His Love. We are friends because I am at peace with the state of my broken body in this broken world, because I know the One who was broken for me and it is His brokenness that sets me free to be whole.
We are friends because you were the means necessary to sanctify my wounded heart and to prepare our family for the longed-for children God chose for us. Because this is what God chose for us.
God chose for us to be broken and bled out and for my hope to be crushed again and again, so that He could fill us up to overflowing and restore to us the joy of our salvation as we came to know Him, faces pressed to the dust at His feet, longing for His heart to make us whole.
And He has.
He has made us whole, not because He has healed me. But He has made us whole because I no longer consider myself broken.
So you are free to stay. You are free to stay or free to go and I genuinely do not care much which you do, because my heart is hidden in Christ in God and I am the possessor of a peace so deep and so great and so consuming that you take up practically zero space in my heart.
And I am grateful for you. As Spurgeon wrote,
I have learned to kiss the waves that slam me against the Rock of Ages.
Father God chose you to be one of those waves and I slammed against the Rock again and again. And if that’s what it takes for Him to be glorified, then so be it.
I am grateful.
We are friends now, Infertility – because my story is bigger than my womb and my heart belongs to Jesus who, as I have been saying, is quite enough for me.
Jesus is enough. He is enough.
He is enough.
(Psst! This isn’t the end of the story. See what God did next.)
We provide adoption financial assistance to families—like Sarah’s—through matching grants and fundraising tools to help bring children home.
Sarah Sandel blogs at www.sarahsandel.com.