Finding Courage in the Midst of a Stormposted on June 11th, 2012 / by Kim Slater / 7 Comments
Thousands of tears shed. Hundreds of prayers whispered. Eight failed pregnancies. Five years battling infertility. Three years drowning in anger and jealousy. Two people finally choosing to trust in God. One family blessed with a baby girl.
Many friends have asked me, “How did you have the courage to keep going?” My answer was always that I am very tenacious, but upon reflection, I can see many points along my journey when I wanted to just quit trying. I longed to give up, but there was a yearning I had–a nudging deep down inside that wouldn’t let me stop. Even when I felt I didn’t have the strength to continue, there was a whisper of encouragement: “Keep going. Have courage. Don’t be afraid.”
Our storm started with a miscarriage and our struggle to conceive again. I was diagnosed “infertile” after six consecutive months with no conception. That was a label I was not comfortable wearing. It felt like a scratchy sweater that I couldn’t wait to take off. As I slowly grew uneasy, insecurities started to well up, and a wave of guilt washed over me. I blamed myself for not being able to give my husband a child, and my insecurity would often lead me to ask my husband if he was going to leave me for a younger, fertile woman.
Fear settled in like a thick fog, and I grew angry. I was furious at my body, and I felt alone in my misery. As the months turned into a year, pressure began to mount in our home and cracks began to show in our marriage.
Most of my friends were leaving the diapers and bottles behind on their second and third kids, and I began to question God. I’d ask Him why they were given children while I continued to be denied. I started to show signs of extreme stress–the kind that made getting pregnant even harder. The more stressed out I became, the more my hormone levels plummeted.
My doctor repeatedly cautioned me to relax and suggested I take a brief respite from trying. As always, my controlling nature kicked in, and I became fanatical. Every month, I found myself constantly counting days, figuring out when I would ovulate and obsessing over charts. Getting pregnant became a chore and a full-time job instead of an intimate, loving experience. My husband and I began to dread having to go through the same routine over and over, month in and month out.
After a long 14 months, we finally conceived again. At seven weeks, I lost a twin, leaving one viable heart beating bravely and strong. The doctors told us the pregnancy was high risk, but everything appeared to be okay. However, as fate would have it, a storm far greater than I have ever experienced blew in. We were standing in faith that this child would make it into the world, only to discover the remaining baby had passed away as well.
The storm continued to grow over the next several months. I thought I was caught up in the middle of an F5 tornado. Not only was I at war with my medical and infertility issues, but I was also coping with extreme emotional damage. Through all the hurt and loss, I convinced myself that I wasn’t worthy of God’s grace and mercy. Resentment mounted with each passing cycle.
The “enemy” began to grow spiteful, casting me into scenarios where thought I was being forced to gaze at pregnant women and newborns at every turn. I became jealous and belligerent. Worse yet, I grew hopeless. During these dark days, I could no longer feel God’s presence. I was drowning in my own pain.
Just as swiftly as a flash flood consumes the earth, depression consumed me. I questioned if I would ever see the sun again. My raincoat was now worn out, and I was soaked to the bone. Completely broken, I no longer wanted to try. I knew I needed something to come into my life and turn things around. Because I couldn’t hear God’s quiet whisper, I needed more than a nudge. I needed to be pushed, and I yearned for hope.
In the midst of my bleakest moments, God suddenly appeared in the form of a complete stranger. He shared a prophetic word with me that ultimately led to my sun shining again. He proclaimed “God is going to bless you with a natural child!”
I felt rescued. The sun appeared in my life for the first time in what seemed like years. This prophecy became the foundation that I would stand on, and it summoned all my courage throughout the coming year. I realized sometime later that this was the moment that I died and was reborn. In the blink of an eye, I began to see and hear our Lord, and I was no longer standing in the midst of a tornado.
The weeks following my awe-inspiring encounter with God, the sky still remained somewhat cloudy. The sun would shine now and then, but I could see ominous clouds looming in the horizon. A few months after my prophetic word, we experienced another miscarriage. The “enemy” was hovering again, but now, I was armed with a new raincoat and an umbrella. I had renewed faith and knew with certainty that our Savior was with me. I released all of my anguish to Him. I understood that His word is binding, and I stood firm that my child would one day come.
I’ve learned that in the midst of a storm, we will be tested. Mark 4 teaches us that Jesus beckoned the disciples to get into a boat with Him saying, “Let us go to the other side”. During their journey, they came upon a storm. Jesus used fierce gusts of wind and crashing waves to test their faith. Even though Jesus had said they could go to the other side, the men who were amid the storm grew afraid they would perish and cried out to Jesus.
God told me a natural baby would come. But in January 2009, I underwent a series of fertility tests that ultimately became my true test of faith. After all the data was compiled, my husband and I were given the one word that would stretch my faith, again testing my trust in God. The doctor notified us that both of my tubes were blocked. I was deemed “sterile”. Now, like the disciples, I would cry out to the Lord.
As the ugly word “sterile” sunk in, a biblical reminder came to mind. “With God all things are possible.” I chose to believe that when the time was right for me to have a natural child, God would heal me. I clung to that prophetic word every day. I prayed for healing, and I prayed to God for my baby to come. It wasn’t long before Luke 1:45 started showing up in my life. “Blessed is she who believes what the Lord has spoken will be accomplished.”
My storm had continued three years. Those were some of the darkest days that I had ever faced in my life. I see now that it is through these storms that God reveals himself to us in ways that will permanently move us. As I began to hand over the reins of my life to Him, the ease and calm that had been missing began to blossom my life. As I focused on building a relationship with my Abba Father, I grew happier and more determined. Ultimately, I was content and hopeful. Trusting God gave me the luxury of knowing our baby would bless our future.
Fourteen months later, we welcomed our baby girl into the world. In fact, it was only two months after I was told I was sterile but chose to exercise extreme faith that God blessed us with the glory of conception. What I have come to understand is that while I may be tenacious, it was always God blessing me with the courage to go on. I’ve learned He will not protect us from moments in life that are meant to mold us, but I trust that it is through life’s storms that we are able to grow and learn the most valuable lessons. It is with an open mind and willing spirit that I will embrace future storms, because I know that while God may not always be the orchestrator of the storms which bring us pain, He always utilizes these times to help us become the women He desires us to be. When I find myself in the midst of a future storm, I will trust that I am not alone, and I will have faith that when I need a helping hand, He will be there for me.
“For this child, I have prayed.” There is no greater gift and for me, no greater glory than trusting in our Father God. And I know that all good things come to those who wait. God Bless!