Medically, our first consultation with my OB-GYN got the ball was rolling toward a diagnosis of infertility. I had some initial bloodwork done; Aaron had a semen analysis. So far the results looked fine, so we were still unsure what was keeping us from conceiving.
Spiritually and emotionally, late fall 2005 found me sinking into a pit. Those months were especially trying, and December found me overwhelmed with sorrow and sin. That month brought the death of dreams. We were not going to celebrate Christmas with a baby; we weren’t even pregnant! Our first year of trying to conceive had yielded nothing. Friends that I expected to be pregnant with gave birth to their newborns. Other friends announced their pregnancies. I don’t even remember everything that happened that month, but I remember feeling like I was being dealt blow after blow to my hope for having children. I was grieving.
A turning point came as a result of a Christmas party in mid-December. Leaders of the church gathered together to celebrate. I was expecting to enjoy the time with some of our closest friends. But then one pregnant woman after another arrived at the party. I knew those ladies would be attending, but I hadn’t computed how many would be in one room with me! I think about half the group was expecting, and all I wanted to do was run and hide. It was a miserable evening. I took a huge nose-dive into self-pity and stayed there. After dinner, we went around the table sharing something we were encouraged about from the past year; every other couple mentioned the gift of the baby on the way. When it was my turn to share, I said something about our care group, but internally I was thinking, “I have nothing to be encouraged about! God is not blessing me! He has forgotten about me!”
On the way home from the party, Aaron asked how I was doing and I told him truthfully. I was completely overwhelmed. I knew I was sinning in a thousand ways – pride, unbelief, jealousy, self-pity, impatience, lack of contentment, etc. – but I felt absolutely stuck. I felt like the pain of not being able to conceive was leaving me no other options. There was too much pressure, too many temptations, and I didn’t know where to begin to fight against it all. I was ready to throw my hands up in despair.
My wonderful husband suggested that I just pick one area of temptation to focus on; he even helped me pick which area (yes, I was that paralyzed by my struggles). He suggested that I specifically focus on the jealousy I felt around pregnant women, that I find one Scripture verse to call to mind in those moments. “One bit of truth for one bit of life,” as we had been taught at a conference in the fall. My dear husband went even further; he spent his devotional time the next morning looking for Scriptures for me. He pointed me to 1 Peter 3, which I read and then kept reading through chapter 4. Verse 19 stood off the page: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
O, what sweet help and consolation came to me through those words! Was I suffering? YES! I didn’t have to ignore that fact or try to cover it up. But my suffering was according to God’s will. For reasons that I didn’t (and still don’t) understand, His loving plan required that I endure this trial. And this God who willed my suffering is a faithful Creator. A God who saved me. A God I could trust not to forsake me as I waited for the creation of a new life. So what do I do in the face of temptation to jealousy of other pregnant women? I don’t run away, I don’t try to escape, but I entrust my soul to the Lord. He is my refuge and shelter in which I can hide, even as I remain in a difficult situation and fight temptation. But it doesn’t stop there. He also calls me to do good, even while I suffer. I need to pursue kindness and love towards those that tempt me to envy. 1 Peter 4:19 has become a bedrock verse for me throughout this trial. (By the way, that’s where I got my blog title.)
A trip to visit family and friends in Texas for the holidays brought a very welcome respite to the onslaught of temptation, and I returned home for the new year hopeful for what God would do in 2006.