She's laying in bed next to me, oblivious to my staring. Listening to a book on my iPhone, playing with her fingers and daydreaming about stories from another land. She thinks I'm sleeping, but instead I'm staring at her thinking about the fact that this is her last night of being 8 years old.
Nine years ago she came into this world and made me a mother. She helped me realize a dream that I thought would never happen. Miracles do come true, Sadie is living proof. It's sad to admit, but in the every day craziness of life I sometimes forget to be amazed by the mere presence of my children.
Travel back in time with me about 10 1/2 years and you'll find my husband and I sitting in a fertility specialist's office. After years of trying to conceive, a miscarriage that rocked our world, and a dozen health issues we could not explain, our doctor looked across the table and dropped the devastating news; we would never have children.
There would be no raising funds for procedures, no endless rounds of shots and hormones and hoping it works this time. There would be nothing. My body could not conceive a child.
I remember the first time I said the words out loud. Sitting outside seminary in the car with my friend Kristen, in the middle of a mundane conversation about where we would eat lunch, I blurt out "John and I can't have kids". Poor Kristen, she had no idea it was coming and I had not prepared her for it. It just came. No tears, just words and numbness.
Numbness could describe the next 6 months or so of my life. Numbness and anger. I was a pastor's wife, smiling on the outside and going through the motions of our God-saturated life, while a deep seated confusion and anger simmered beneath the surface. I didn't rail at God, I didn't yell and scream and demand to know why, I just ignored.
One of those many Sundays when I wanted to be anywhere but at church, I realized how tired I was. I couldn't live like that anymore. The anger and bitterness stirring in me took up too much energy and I had little to spare. I went to the alter and gave up. I let down my walls and told God I was tired. Life with Him was confusing me, but life without Him was killing me.
Two weeks later I found out Sadie would be part of our lives.
Now, here's the part of my story I love most of all - when I found out I was already six weeks pregnant. So many testimonies we hear in church end with the sentence above, they end with "I repented and then God blessed me". I heard a lot of those stories while going through my wilderness and I never felt like they were real life. Yes that could happen, but it didn't always. It didn't for me, hearing it from them was sometimes just hurtful.What about me? What have I done wrong?
But I knew in the middle of my anger and bitterness, in the middle of my brokenness, God had brought this miracle. It had nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with my repentance or giving up. By the time I found myself on my knees at the alter I was already a month along and had no idea.
I know this is not always the end of the story. I know some stories don't end with unicorns and rainbows. I wish this broken world were different. I wish the rainbows could brighten every one's lives. If infertility is a part of your struggle, I am truly sorry. I know the pain and my heart hurts with you. If you need more encouragement in your infertility journey, my sweet friend Angela blogs about her story, as does my friend Gigi. Please visit them and be encouraged along your way.
Thanks for reading a little of my story. Rethinking my journey has encouraged me, I pray it's encouraged you as well.