Somewhere between my husband’s second snooze button and the dog demanding her ‘good morning’ pets at the side of the bed, my eyes always catch a glimpse of a sign on the wall opposite of my bed. I purchased the sign a few months ago. Its white whimsical letters are a necessary reminder to me each day. I hung it there intentionally because this spot where my eyes observe the sign is also the spot that I happen to struggle the most. It’s the spot that I sit and pull myself back together after failed pregnancy tests, it’s where I recoil to after disappointing doctor visits, and it’s where my husband holds me when I grieve. The gentle early morning light filtering in through the curtain helps my eyes make out the words on the sign, “dwell in hope, Psalm 16:9.”
With infertility, hope can sometimes seem like a cruel joke. Infertility can cause continual disappointment. Over and over, I must face the reality that I might never be able to have a child. It is tempting to keep myself on guard from hoping that God could possibly work through my physical brokenness to heal me. After being let down from my desire to have a biological child again and again, so many people around me seem to be announcing pregnancies and births. My experiences of disappointment seem entirely unrelatable to those women who are close to me. Motherhood brings them joy, but also a whole different set of trials. In many ways, I feel as if I can no longer relate to people that I was once really close with because our experiences are so different.
Isolation takes hold of me especially when it feels like no one will listen and no one knows what I am going through. Sometimes when I try to share my struggle, people tell me: “do you know how much work kids are?” “You need to trust God more,” or “I know someone who prayed this novena and then got pregnant immediately.”
When I forfeit my heart to isolation, I begin to wonder: why should I even have hope? Is anyone listening? Is God even listening to my pleas? Why is he silent? Why does God allow miracles to happen to some people, but not to me? Where is God in my pain? Does God even care?
Hope cries out in my darkness: Yes, of course he is there!
In spite of my disappointment and pain, hope and trust reminds me that God is there! Even when I cannot feel Him. He is always listening. He is just waiting for us to speak up and to bring all of our pain to Him. Even when it feels like no one around me is listening, He is listening, always. Sometimes, I am the silent one isolating God from my life. Literally, all I have to do is open up my heart to Him and the Lord is there, ready and waiting to console me. He knows my pain. He cares about me. I must run to him!
Sometimes, I am the silent one isolating God from my life.
The hope that we are all called to have is much greater than our infertility. We are a Resurrection people, called to hope for the kingdom of heaven. Hoping and believing in physical healing can help us hope for greater things like eternity, but everything must be directed towards the eternal goal. I still hope for a biological child, but in an even greater way, I must believe that God is working it all out for good. On a daily basis, I must hope for the kingdom of God in heaven and work towards that eternal goal.
In the morning as I lie there while my husband gets ready for work and I muster up the courage to pull back the covers and get out of bed, I remind myself of this hope as I pray: Lord, help me to dwell in your hope today. Give me complete and total trust in you. Heal my spiritual and physical brokenness. Send down your spirit of strength, so that no matter what news this day brings, I am ready to keep trusting in you. You know me better than I know myself. You know what is best for me. Keep working in my heart during this season of waiting. Help me to be open to the ways that you plan to fulfill my desire for motherhood, whether or not it be biological children. Allow hope to prepare my soul for eternity with you.
Stacey Huneck lives in Indiana with her husband, Phil. She is pursuing her Master of Arts in Theology from the University of Notre Dame while serving as a high school Youth Minister.