This time last year, I didn’t know it yet, but a big part of my tide was about to turn.
It had been a year and a half since my last miscarriage, and Jason and I were longing for another baby. And when I say longing, I am describing a deep, multi-layered and primal, aching desire that can hardly be understood except by those who have not yet had that desire met or who have had it in their grasp and felt it slip away.
After our last loss, we waited the required amount of time and then began looking for that next baby to come along. But none came. Months came and went and came and went at a grinding glacial speed, and no new baby was among them. I struggled with the emptiness of heart and womb, trying to heal from loss while trying to fill with new life.
Finally, Jason and I sought help. Testing showed there was no problem at hand. “Unexplained Infertility,” the doctor told me with a half-shrug that showed he understood no comfort would come from his words. Our option was to keep trying on our own, regardless of the countless empty months behind us, or to begin taking a well-known drug that would increase our chances of conception. One nurse told me, “If you can get pregnant, you will get pregnant on this drug.”
And before I knew it, I was once again standing before the tide, waiting, willing, watching for any sign of its turning. I understood it might not. And I understood that even if it did, I could still be immersed in loss once again. God doesn’t promise us that everything we want will go our way. He says that He’ll work it all out for our good. This is not always comfort in your moment of turning – but it is a quieter, deeper, more foundational promise of well-being than we can know in that moment.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear... 1 John 4:18a
I could never understand that scripture before. But last year it was brought home to me. Fear comes, it does - and it always will - but when we know that perfect Love of the Father - when we really understand that no matter what things may come along to hurt or scare us, no matter what, that He'll be there to work it all out for our good - then we can weather that Fear. It comes, it howls and blows over us, and then it passes us by. And still we stand.
Fear. It’s insidious. Even when the best things are happening for us, the things long hoped for, it lurks in the nooks and crannies of your mind. I’m no stranger to Fear. I knew it would come, before the hoped-for pregnancy, during the hoped-for pregnancy, and even after the hoped-for baby was born. If we don’t deal with Fear at the beginning of the season, it will just keep returning – stronger and stronger – at the turn of each new season.
So I stood on the brink of the turning of the tide, and I knew – even before I saw that the hoped-for child was on her way – I knew I had to plant both feet and wait to weather the storm of Fear that would be on its way. Oh I knew I could just abandon this desire and run. And I knew I could also allow myself to be tossed about by the storm of Fear, becoming a wrecked, ruin of a woman. Or I could count the costs and stand on Love.
Sometimes I would lie in bed, with my hand on my abdomen, praying for new life, praying for health, praying for courage. Being on the edge of such a life shaking force – the conception, carriage, and birth of a child, YOUR child – can be one of the most awesome and fearful places we will ever be. The joy and fear are immeasurable. And knowing the taste of both, I had to face them. I had to count the costs and face the possibilities.
So when we saw that little extra line on that beautiful test the morning of July 4, 2011, I was able to rejoice fully – knowing that no matter what would come down the road, Love would not be silenced.