A year to date I was being wheeled back into surgery after being diagnosed with stage three/four endometriosis. I had all the emotions as I lay in my bed hooked up to the IV, staring at the white curtains around me. Fear, peace, anxiety…but mostly I felt hope. Hope that maybe after all those years leading up to this moment of tremendous pain, unknown infertility and countless doctor referrals that maybe this was it. This was the answer.
When I woke up I had five incisions across my stomach stretching from hip to hip and a lengthy recovery ahead of me. Even now those months are so vivid in my memory. Not being able to sit up (or lie down for that matter). Michael loving and caring for me with such tenderness. My mom living with us for an extended time to help with Asher since I was instructed not lift anything over 15 pounds for two months. The meals brought by friends, the tears I cried as my body worked to heal.
But healing is a funny thing. I look at my stomach now and all but one scar has mostly faded. The stomach I hoped would carry life between now and then hasn’t. Sometimes I feel left in the wake of dreams, but it’s here I’m still learning God takes what we think is good and always, always gives us what is best. (Asher and his adoption story are my constant reminders of this). He is still working out in me what He knows will bring redemption to my story and glory to His name.
Countless of you have been so kind over this last year, reaching out to let me know you were praying for our family. Sending me texts messages or pulling me aside when you could tell my heart was aching to give me a hug and remind me that I am seen. You’ve all been so gracious and respectful…true friends indeed. We can’t thank you all enough. Although there’s no pregnancy announcement in the words below, we did want to share our story of the last twelve months, where God has brought us and where we are now.
This past summer, after seven months of post surgery doctors visits and increased intensity in fertility treatments, Michael and I felt like we were standing at a crossroads of decisions. Do we continue treatments or was it finally time to stop, to rest, to quiet our hearts, minds and bodies before Him? The weight of what we felt the next step we would take…or not take…seemed heavy. Final. We labored in prayer for weeks asking for clarity and unity in our decision.
While I knew nothing was final with God, it felt like if we took this step it would be a clear end to trying to grow our family. Once after surgery I had asked my doctor what the percentage was that I would get pregnant with my diagnosis and over the amount of time we had tried to conceive. The number was incredibly low. Devastatingly low. And that number crept back into my thoughts as we labored over our decision…it would drop even lower if we stopped from all human perspectives.
But, like He promises in His word, when we seek Him we will be found by Him. When we diligently ask for wisdom, He will graciously give it. And over the course of weeks as I studied His word and prayed there was one question the Holy Spirit whispered over and over again to me that I couldn’t silence.
”Lacey, do you trust Me?”
Did I trust Him? Did I believe His power was greater than all human power? Did I trust His plan was good…even if we were never able to grow our family again? Did what I said I believed about Him line up with my actions?
My heart wrestled but I knew what He was asking us to do.
Stop striving and trust.
Even after it was clear to me what I felt God was asking us to do, it took me days to share it with Michael and see if he felt the same. Somewhere inside me I knew that once I told him…things were final. I cried when I finally had the courage to let the words tumble from my mouth and mix with the tears that fell from my eyes. He was so kind as he listened to what I felt God was prompting us to do. Stop all treatments. Yet he felt peace as well…and then and there the line was drawn. We would be obedient by His strength and trust in His heart.
I feel like it’s important here to stop for a minute and be clear. We 100% do not believe that fertility treatments equal disobedience or lack of trust. The years before we were so at peace that treatments were in fact, where He wanted us. We believe medicine is a gift…but at this point in our own journey, it was time for us to stop. Emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually—no area seemed untouched. Somewhere along the line for me personally, my confidence had shifted from the One who formed me and created me and breathed life into my own body, who fashioned me in His wisdom and who knew my frame…to the doctors around me. It may not be forever, but for now we knew it was time to stop. And God seemed to whisper, “Lacey, you can trust Me.”
Obedience is a funny thing sometimes. The wrestling between what we want to do and the what we know we should do. The strength not our own to carry it out. The peace that follows when we know…like know, know….we are standing right where He wants us. I journaled shortly after that I felt like the Israelites having left Egypt being led by cloud and fire on the path God laid for them, only to find themselves (by all human viewpoints) trapped by the sea ahead of them. I felt in many ways like I’m sure the Israelites did.,”You led us here to a place we can’t proceed, to a path that is a sure conclusion to the story.” How confusing it must have been……until God swept back the waters and did what only God could do and led them forward on dry land. But our waters weren’t swept back. Instead our toes still faced the impossible. And again, “Lacey, you can trust Me.”
About a week went by and I needed time to let our decision settle into my soul. I was in a very raw, vulnerable place and I had to process. I’m grateful to have a relationship with my mom where I can share all things with her. So one afternoon I picked up the phone and told her everything.
There was silence on the other end and when she spoke, an unbelief in her voice. She told me, “Lacey, you’re never going to believe this. Well actually, I’m not going to tell you….I’ll drop you a letter in the mail tomorrow.”
When the letter arrived it was sent with a small gift. I opened the wrapping to find a lovely simple silver and gold necklace with very small, pin size pieces of jewelry adorning it. It was beautiful, but I still didn’t understand until I opened the letter. And the story read like this…
My mom had been thinking about what her and my dad wanted to get me for my birthday. There is this jewelry shop we love in Grand Lake and so my mom had gone into the store knowing she wanted to buy me a necklace for my birthday. She had picked up a small chain…one where the pieces on the necklace spelled out “hope” in Morse code. But somewhere inside she was unsettled and knew this wasn’t the one. So she put it back, walked around the store a long while until she picked up the one she bought, wrapped and sent. Want to take a guess at what it said? Yes. “Trust.”
And I cried.
She had no idea when she purchased it that God was working in me that very same thing miles apart. But He did…and that’s one of the (millions) of things I love about God. He sees us in the smallest moments and confirms to us that He is God and He is good and He is in control. That He cares for us and that He works the impossible. I felt so seen and so loved by my Heavenly Father.
And when I came inside from calling my mom after opening the gift, I shared with Michael what had just happened. He just looked at me and said, “You’ll never believe the passage I’ve been praying for you all summer Lace…..
’Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leave remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
As if the one wasn’t enough, God graciously reassured me twice. He sees me and He was a loving, trustworthy God.
While part of me wishes this post was announcing a little brother or sister for Asher, maybe this is more important. Maybe someone else needs to know today that He is good and He is for you. That in seasons where there is no answers (or maybe just no answers that you were expecting) that we can still know with confidence He is on time and He is writing a story more beautiful that we could ever imagine.
So where are we right now? Still desperately longing for more children, but simultaneously deeply resting in His plan. We’re standing put. Feet still and eyes up. Other than stopping fertility treatments, we don’t feel any other clear direction. There’s a grace and gift in trusting in the here and now—a day by day kind of ‘not my will, but Yours be done.’ Moments pass by where I’m overcome with waves of grief as we long deeply for more children. Where tears sometimes silent, sometimes anything but, fall in church, in the car, in our kitchen. But I’ve learned that grief and trust can live together in the same space.
I realize that we may forever be our little family of three. And if that were the case, I will praise Him forever for His kindness, for our son and for His strength that I know will carry me daily, monthly and each year ahead. I know that endometriosis is a chronic disease that will one day come back…but I can trust His plan and His heart. I will thank Him for revealing yet another piece of Himself and character to me…because isn’t that the true Answer?
In the unknown, to know and to trust Him even yet a little more…