Over the last two years I’ve experienced a depth of abundant blessing in sharing our journey with you. I’ve seen God weave people (and their stories) into our own in such personal ways and with a richness I believe wouldn’t be there if vulnerability wasn’t present first.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there’s a time to process privately and a necessity in keeping some things close to your heart. But now—after we’ve had time to let the news settle in—we feel pulled toward sharing what this year has been for us and where God has sovereignly placed us as a family.
As I write these words I’m reminded of our journey with Asher. Of the community that linked arms with us and came alongside us with love and strength and kindness. Of the powerful answers to prayer God worked in ways I could have never fathomed. Of the new story He wrote into our lives….a story so much better than the one I had formed on my own.
And I’m praying those same things again. God, answer prayers in powerful ways. Make my heart know with reverence, “This is God. He has done it.” Take the pen. I’ve experienced the wonder of a plan so much bigger than myself and a storyline that impacted beyond the bounds of my own life.
I feel God asking me to step forward and let our story be used for His glory. And that’s all we want. That others would fall in love with a God who is always good and always working. Who always hears and always has a redemptive plan. That God would take our brokenness and use it as a blessing to others.
And (softly to you and to me) I whisper, “He can be trusted.”
It’s no secret the breathtaking joy I’ve experienced in motherhood. And as 2020 began, Michael and I started having deeper and more intentional conversations of what growing our family again looked like. And as we did, this heavy realization weighted down the eager anticipation. Infertility wasn’t a one and done thing. I began understanding the reach and hold it had, the way it continued to impact our story. Because suddenly….there we were again. The ever present question of “how” looming over us.
If you know our story, you know during our first season of longing for a child that I had a physical struggle running parallel to infertility. (If this is your first time to hear our journey you can read THIS, THIS and THIS). For me, physical pain often seems linked with my emotional pain. And I think it’s no accident that those two paired together is often what leads me closer to a breaking point. So as we begun stepping into this second season of longing, there I was again with struggles of both emotional and physical aspects that felt like a battle against me.
Starting January each month, like clockwork, I began experiencing excruciating stomach pain. Pain that would leave me in tears, curled up on the couch, unable to move. After a few months of consistent pain, Michael said it was time to see a doctor. I scheduled the appointment (and probably like most of us, had Mayo Cliniced my symptoms and prescribed myself with what I believed the cause to be as well as the ten step program to fix it).
My primary doctor did bloodwork and quickly realized that this was beyond her expertise so she referred me to an OB. Finding an OB was one thing, but then recounting my medical unknowns was another. And of course, she wanted more bloodwork as well. I sat on the table, moving ever so slightly in the windowless room, paper crinkling beneath me. Why are those rooms always so cold? The doctor flipped through my charts reading the results. She looked up and said, “We believe you are ovulating.” (What? How? That didn’t make any sense. For years I had been told I wasn’t and that that was the reason we weren’t able to get pregnant). I should have been thrilled at the news….but I wasn’t. In fact, I was devastated. Why aren’t we able to get pregnant then? She wanted to do more bloodwork and check out a few more things. She said the nurse would call when they knew something.
I remember it clearly. I was out of the back deck playing with Asher when my phone rang. The nurse was on the other line. “Is this Lacey?” “Yes…” I said, as she began telling me what they found in my bloodwork. “Your numbers look like you have something called Diminished Ovarian Reserve….” (What is that? What does that mean? Is that better or worse?) Questions. So many questions.
Slowly I began trying to form words together to ask legitimate questions. What was DOR? What did that mean in our hope to get pregnant? Was that what was causing the stomach pain? Is there anything they can do for it? The nurse was kind, but probably not ready for the flood, the emotional onslaught that came with the tiny break in the dam of my heart and hopes. DOR. Where my egg count is either low or the quality of my eggs poor. Nothing much they can do for it. Not linked to the pain. You’ll need to see a specialist.
Where I hoped for answers, instead it seemed like I was given a tenfold of questions.
The nurse told me the doctor still wanted me to come back in for an ultrasound to see if they could find what was causing my stomach pain.
A couple weeks later I laid in the dark room on the bed for the ultrasound with clear gel on my stomach—acutely aware that this would be the same gel they would use to see a sweet baby inside me. My heart groaned with no words. At that moment I was thankful to know I had a God who saw me in my pain and heard my cries when I didn’t have to utter a single word. I waited to see what the technician would find. She told me she saw a cyst. (Not a huge surprise as ruptured cysts have led me to the ER in years past). But this one was different. It was a complex cyst, she said.
I walked out of the office in a slow blur.
Just make it to the elevator I told myself.
And as the cold silver doors slowly closed I felt broken, crushed and desperately discouraged. I walked to my car trying to hold it together. I sat in the parking lot not ready to go anywhere just yet. I pulled out my phone and called my sister. “I feel like I should have more faith. I’ve been here before. Didn’t I learn anything these last couple years??” Didn’t I know He was still ruling in my life? Didn’t I know He was still working for my good? Didn’t I know His ways were higher and His timing good? Yet fear and sadness and heartache still gripped me.
Her response will forever be etched into my spiritual journey.
She listened (a trademark I’ve come to recognize as gold to the hurting) then asked me if she could share something with me. She told me a while back she heard someone teach on seasons in our Christian walk. How often we see them as highs and lows. A wave. But instead, he challenged the listeners to view their journeys as a spiral with Jesus in the middle. And she challenged me to do the same….she said,
“Lace, God worked powerfully in your life. He showed you, let you experience characteristics of Himself in your last season that you may not have come to know to that depth without it. And your journey (spiraling inward, with Christ as the center) isn’t a new low. It’s progressing closer to Him. Because you’re now walking in a season that may feel like it’s mirroring pieces of the last, but this time you have a new perspective. You have experiences. You have personal insight and a deeper walk with Jesus because of it. And He’s going to reveal something new to you this go round. He’ll let you claim His word and grow closer to Him because of this and you’ll keep walking further to the spiraling center, closer to the heart of God.”
….Closer to the heart of God. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I needed. Not medical answers or another child (although I longed for both). But to rest in the presence of my Comforter, Keeper and loving Father and wrap myself in the promises that are “yes” in Him.
Another ultrasound—surprisingly the complex cyst was gone (How? They weren’t sure. That type isn’t supposed to go away on it’s own. My answer: prayer). More pain. Why? Another ultrasound. This time they found a polyp. And at the end of that appointment, sitting, waiting, hoping for some sort of answer or possible link between to what they kept finding in my body that wasn’t supposed to be there and a reason—any reason—why I wasn’t getting pregnant. But as I walked back out the doors the same questions echoed through my mind and the words of the OB, “I’m sorry. I don’t think there’s anything else we can do for you.”
The funny thing is she told me she recommended I take daily prenatal vitamins. I had them. I bought them because I knew I should. But I promptly stored them under my bathroom vanity out of sight. I didn’t want to see them every day. In the pain, the waiting, the desperate longing the last thing I wanted to be reminded of every day was the thing I hoped for. Because over the past five years I’ve found that hope lifts your heart just enough to break as it falls. I didn’t want any more breaking. No more hope.
That night I stood in steam of the shower, eyes closed—half praying, half pondering the instruction of the doctor. If I was honest with myself, I didn’t want hope. Hope hurt. Hope opened back up my heart. And in that moment I heard God say to me, “But Lacey, I am the God of hope.”
”To place trust. To rely. To look forward with confidence.”
God doesn’t promise that I’ll get pregnant. He doesn’t promise to work in the same spectacular way that He did with Asher. But He does promise He “is working all things for the good of those who love Him.” He does promise to “fill me with all joy and peace in believing.” He promises to be strong when I am weak. He promises “fullness of joy.”
So that week I took a blue sticky note and with a black sharpie in all caps I wrote HOPE and stuck it to the outside of the prenatal bottle. I set it right by our faucet so that I see it every time I’m getting ready, brushing my teeth or putting on my makeup and am reminded to pray. To lift my eyes from my circumstances and ask for an eternal perspective. In this unknown, I know this—
My God can be trusted.
So where are we now? A specialist who is top in the nation referred me to another specialist’s office. Their first opening for a consultation wasn’t until April, and so now? Now we wait. And pray. And when my heart is discouraged (which comes often and in unexpected waves of tears these days) I ask for hope. I want you here alongside me in the brokenness but also for something more. I have confidence that God redeems what is shattered (maybe not in this life, but He promises He will) and that He is working. And I don’t want to be the only one who is amazed when He says, “now” and reveals to us the next piece of His glorious plan. And if in His goodness to us His plan is that nothing changes (the pain stays and we don’t ever get pregnant) I hope–I pray that our story would still be one that resounds with the words, “He is always good!” (Our circumstances don’t change that).
If you remember, I mark dates in my Bible next to verses that I’m praying, pleading so that in years to come I can see what God has done. (If you haven’t had a chance to read THE most powerful story from Asher’s verse, please please read it HERE).
Psalm 40:3 is my verse for this season.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”
Give me a song of praise for who You are and what You’re doing.
May many see—read, observe, watch—and be in awe of God….and may that awe be turned to trust in their own story, strengthened with a confidence that cannot be shaken. May they be safe and secure resting in the character of our God.
This is my verse.
That is our prayer.
May our broken story be used for songs of praise.