A few weeks ago my friend asked me if I would share my story at her birthday party. She explained she was inviting women in her life who have impacted her and she wanted a few of us to share how God impacted us. She was having the party at a local coffee shop and I envisioned a small group of us sitting at the table...visiting, drinking coffee and just hanging out. When I arrived to the party, I saw this:
Wait. What?!?! Also, what you can't see in this image are the 40 chairs sitting in a circular shape surrounding this stage. 40 chairs filled with people I really didn't know and then it was time to share my story. So, I thought I'd post what I wrote for the occasion and celebrate Nola's 15 month birthday today. Enjoy.
"Hello. My name is Audrey and I’m a control freak. I always knew I had control issues, but it wasn’t until last night after our life group that I realized where those stemmed from. One of the most important things for kids is stability. Kids thrive on a schedule – knowing when they will get up and get dressed for school, knowing who will pick them up, knowing what time dinner will be and when they will go to bed after baths and homework. The environment I grew up in was quite the opposite. There were a lot of uncertainties and the one thing I could control was myself. I could count on me. So, I controlled what I could and held on tightly to that power. I became extremely independent and pretty self-sufficient. And as I grew older, I prided myself on being able to take care of me in spite of everything I had been through. And I know God used my desire to control every situation to break me down and show me He was in control all along. That power does not and did not ever belong to me.
I knew what infertility was. I knew its name and saw it in my sister and best friend’s life. I knew it existed and that it was sad and bothersome. I knew it. I was aware. I saw it change her life and the people around her. I saw it from a distance. I knew what infertility was.
But, I didn’t really know it. I didn’t realize that I would become intimately familiar with infertility. I didn’t realize how close we would become…the two of us. Me, with my young and pretty healthy self. And infertility with her ugliness, her pain and her downright ability to suck the life out of a person (quite literally, actually, but figuratively too).
My husband and I always knew we wanted kids. Two, to be exact. A boy first, and then a girl would be great. But, as long as they were healthy, we didn’t really care. And we weren’t just saying that. Aren’t we nice? So, we waited until we decided we were ready and then we started trying. I’d been on birth control for many years, so we were thrilled when we got pregnant right away after trying. Everything was going well and then we went in for our 8 week appointment to find no heartbeat and no explanation why. Two pregnancies and two miscarriages later, I found myself losing control.
Then, came all the technical talk. You don’t have enough follicles. That’s weird.
They aren’t big enough. That’s not good.
You have cysts on your ovaries. That will make things difficult.
You could remove the fibroids through surgery, but it’s dangerous.
Your periods are irregular. That isn’t good.
Unexplained infertility. Unexplained anything is hard for someone with control issues.
When you are infertile, EVERYONE around you is pregnant or has kids. Everyone. And everyone is asking you when you might start a family. And all you are is the empty shell of a woman who longs for that beyond what anyone can understand. You want a big belly, you want screaming kiddos, you want to figure it all out and fix whatever part of you is broken. But, you can’t. You realize you can’t do it on your own. So, you start looking for places where you can count on someone else to fix you.
Sometimes this part gets dangerous and unhealthy. But, if you are smart, you turn to God. And you realize that He is the only one that can help you through infertility or any difficult situation. God knows the desires of your heart and He will fulfill those according to His plan. I can sit here and say that because I know it to be true, but I’m not above saying that it hasn’t always been easy for me to believe that myself.
This was the most painful thing we experienced in our marriage, but it brought us closer together and closer to God. It made me a stronger person and gave me a testimony that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Looking back, I can say that I know that God wasn’t punishing me. I know He was teaching me. And I know that His timing is perfect, even when it didn’t seem like it. Remember not to judge God’s goodness in your life on a snapshot. Our understanding of time is not the same as God’s.
I thought I could control everything. I thought that if I worked hard enough, I would get what I was longing for and it would all work out. He reminded me that I’m nothing without him. And my inability to control this situation broke me. It forced me to rely on someone other than myself.
“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” – Jeremiah 31:13
I saw infertility. I thought I knew it. But, until you experience it yourself, you can’t possibly know."