Heidi Wheeler and I became friends while living in Denver having babies. I could have labeled her as the girl who has it all: God centered heart, supportive wife, super smart, professionally thriving while raising her first child, encouraging friend, involved with grass-roots efforts to raise awareness and stop human trafficking, had the crunchy eating thing down….I can go on because she is simply a remarkable woman and she did have it all, heartache included. Heidi’s genuine and sincere heart speak volumes to those she comes in contact with and it doesn’t take long for her authenticity to impact those around her. Join me won’t you in welcoming Heidi to Peacequility today, and please, take a moment to stop by her fabulous site The Blessed Nest!
“Just one more push, you’re doing so well! This is the best natural delivery I’ve ever seen,” the doctor encouraged the woman about give birth.
Once more she shut her eyes, grunted and succumbed to the exiting of pain and darkness she’d experienced the previous few years along with the birth of her precious, blue, slimy daughter.
The birth of a baby is often described as one of life’s most joyous occasions, a sentiment I share. But for a period in my life, the subject of babies brought despair, not joy. It was reflecting back on my journey through infertility that made me realize three things about joy: it often blossoms out of sorrow, always built on a foundation of hope and usually holding hands with gratitude.
There was a time I thought I’d never be a mother. Unlike buying a car, when you want to get pregnant, you don’t just get to show up, pick out your make and model and bring it home. The ability to conceive and bear a child is a gift and one that doesn’t always come in our own timing.
All my effort had been exerted willing it to be; meticulous planning involving ovulation charts, thermometers, diet changes, lab work, post-coital pelvic tilts and frequent, and stressed-out sex (not fun). I was left only with stacks of negative pregnancy tests (fervently searching for that second pink line will forever haunt me) and increasingly more desperation. For years, I ebbed and flowed between stretches of not conceiving and miscarriages. Each month stole a little more hope and by a certain point, I couldn’t even look at a pregnant woman because it was too painful. Each rounded abdomen bearing the promise of life was a reminder that my womb was empty. My sorrow drew me out of my usual mode of independence to one of dependence on God. I could not handle my situation on my own (like I usually tried to) and I petitioned Him continually to answer my prayer and to comfort me as I waited.
Hope is often lost in waiting and some points I felt I had waited so long for motherhood that I’d run out of hope. My theme verse during my fertility struggles, Proverbs 13:12, states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” In the waiting for things…whether it be deliverance from a bad situation or failing to obtain a desired one, our minds can became uneasy, our hearts despondent and we can lose all hope of enjoying the desired blessing.
Without hope, there can be little joy; they are intimately intertwined. To have hope is live in the assurance that despite the unknowns, a desired positive outcome will come to pass. And since joy is the response to the prospect or possession of what one is hopeful for, it wanes without it.
In my darkest days when I felt like I was choking in a cloud of sorrow, God spoke the most audible words I had ever heard from Him, though at the time I had my doubts that I’d heard right. Two weeks before I conceived on a hot night in Rome (with a good three glasses of wine sloshing in my veins), distinct and concrete phrases came into my mind during fervent prayer.
“You’ll be pregnant soon…”
“It’ll be a girl…
“She’ll be a healer.”
I now had three promises to hold on to, to pull me out of despair. Ones He had given me as an act of grace and a seed of hope was born. Shortly after that, my hope grew with the new life in me.
The Greek word for joy, chara, stems from the word for grace, charis, and indicates that true joy is the response found in experiencing grace. The most complete definition of joy is rejoicing with gratitude.
Proverbs 13:12 goes on, “but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” In other words, when that which is hoped and wished for has been long expected and desired, comes; we are as grateful for it as the tree of life was in Eden’s garden; it gives us an unspeakable pleasure and delight. Becoming pregnant and having God’s promises come true led to immense gratitude.
The woman held up her baby in wonder, her hands cupping the tiny armpits, the little head flopping slightly forward, the body still covered in the fluids from a 9 ½ month residence in the womb. Staring into that smooshed little face, she knew she felt full—absolutely euphoric and overwhelmingly grateful for this gift. The heartbreak was washed away and her heart began to heal from the pain of emptiness and loss. The third of God’s personal assurances realized in that moment.
“Her name is Marin, meaning “longed-for,’” she announced to everyone and no one in particular, practically suffocating in a sea of emotions; most of all…joy.
Ready for more? Stop by The Blessed Nest!