" These (trials) have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
I Peter 1:7 (NIV)
Test me so that I may prove that my faith is genuine.
Test me so that I may know for myself that may hope is pure.
Test me so that I may be blessed with never forgetting that God alone can get me through this.
Battling infertility teaches you things. It doesn't matter if your battle is short or if you stake yourself out in the 40 year war. If you have ever been touched by the agony of infertility- you've learned something. It's not all good things you learn but some of it's good. It's not all a struggle but some of it's unbearably hard. It's not all bad but some of it could kill a person of weak conviction. These are the things I have learned from my struggle. These are the things my trails have taught me. These are my little somethings... something good, something hard to struggle with, something bad, and something new.
When you first start to battle infertility you learn the good things. You learn to make a plan, to except defeat of your plan and to stand up and try again. Infertility, no matter how scary, no matter the path you choose, no matter the steps you decide to take has the same result in every person. It teaches you what you are willing to do for love. It is a powerful thing to be able to quantify the limits of your conviction. It is a wonderful thing to learn as an adult the refresher course of "if you fall off your bike you have to try again or you'll never learn to ride." We need refresher courses. We need to remember the things we valued when we first started to learn and develop into wise little people.
Then somewhere in the process you learn to struggle. The infertility struggle is unlike any other struggle you've ever had. Infertility is different than an addiction yet you crave for it to be filled. Infertility is harder than a tempation and yet you know it is there pulling at you no matter what you are trying to do. In the second stage of your infertility you learn to struggle. You're sitting there one day with your plan and your water off the back, no skin in my teeth mentality and then one day you just break. A solid-cracked in half- dear God how will I ever live through this pain broken. A broken beyond tears. A broken beyond hope. A broken beyond breathing. And yet as broken as you are you struggle to breath, you struggle to believe, you struggle to have faith. This struggle, the struggle to hold on to God's will, to keep your hope and to keep going... it is another thing that infertility will give you.
One day the struggle takes on a life of it's own. One day the struggle becomes part of your identity. When the struggle becomes a part of you, the way you interact with life changes. When the struggle was something you were overcoming you were still you. One day you wake up and you are not just you... you are also barren. Infertility becomes part of your identity. "You know Sally, the one who's been trying to have a baby for 10 years". Suddenly, you even identify yourself by your barren womb. You identify with pain, with empty arms, with thirst and with hungery but that part of you that struggles for hope starts to tell you that infertility is part of who you are. This is the bad thing infertility teaches you. Infertility steals part of your hope, part of your faith and part of your life and it grows like a parasite in you. Till one day you feel that it is just a part of what has always been.
Then it happens. The big IT. Your pregnant (or perhaps your adopting or making a life change) but some sort of big IT happens and infertility becomes a haunting memory of the past. It is part of who you are and how you react but it's no longer the thing by which all other things are measured and you stand there bewildered by the sudden freedom you have. In my case, the IT, was to become pregnant after being told I had just miscarried. For me the something new was worrying about the baby instead of worrying about if there would be a baby. It was new and akward. Infertility taught me to have fear in my heart, to identify with a lack of hope, to struggle daily, and then one day it just taught me to let go.
Perhaps you're not there yet. Perhaps letting go seems so far away that you'll never reach it. But you will reach it. I know. I know for a couple reasons. I know because I've been there and as different or the same as we are, we are still children of a God that loves us and he's going to take you somewhere someday. It may not be where you think you need to go. But you'll like it when you get there. I also know because I can still feel it. The doubt of infertility still haunts me and so I can relate to every gasp for air and every grasp for reality you struggle with. Lastly, I know because even if it all starts again tomorrow for me... I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel and it's worth the test.
So again I stand at the start of my battle field. And I look out into the world around me and I scream... "TEST ME" because I know you will. At least now when it happens, I can say it was my idea. I call you out doubt. I call you out infertility struggle with hope. I call you out inner demons. Go ahead and test me. I dare you. I'm not giving up that easy.