Infertility Post #9: The Year Things Fell Apart
I will be so glad to have these posts finished! And we’re almost there! This is the second to last one, with a happy ending just around the corner. I never imagined it would take a whole year to get through this.
After a year of unsuccessful treatments at the reproductive endocrinologist’s clinic, we were burned out and broke. The RE had given us a discount, but there were still enormous bills. We were facing IVF as a next step, and we weren’t ready.
Against the advice of our doctor (who probably had seen cases where a woman’s FSH suddenly shot through the roof, making it too late for IVF), we insisted we were taking a year off of any infertility treatments before attempting IVF.
This was the first extended break we had ever taken. In some ways, it was a peaceful time. For the first time, there was no chance that our lives could be changed imminently by a pregnancy.
With the constant, consuming pressure of treatments out of the way, other issues surfaced. My husband’s frustration with my years of discontentment came to a head. The strain of residency was at its most intense. I had an editing job that I adored, and I threw myself into it. With our different jobs, our interests diverged. I’m thankful that we remained faithful, but our emotional commitment faltered.
The time frame of all these events overlapped with surrounding years. I think it was just before our break that my faith took a hard hit.
As in, it ended.
I walked out onto the deck one day, aimed my voice at the sky, and said, “God, I don’t think you’re there. I think I’m talking to myself. Without any response from you these last several years, this is not a relationship. I can’t continue like this. My faith is done.”
What a scary thing to do! It wasn’t a test. It wasn’t a challenge for God to rescue me. I was really done with my faith.
I know this doesn’t end happily for everyone. But for reasons I cannot comprehend, God showed up in a tiny way, providing a small thing that was just enough.
I went back inside and sat down on the floor to bawl. This was the most grievous loss I had experienced yet. Not more than a couple seconds later, I glanced down. I had managed to sit almost directly on a book that my mother-in-law had mailed to my husband several months back. I don’t know why it was there on the floor. It was a spiritual book, and we hadn’t had the time or the interest to read it in the months since we had received it.
That day, though, this tiny book, Epic by John Eldredge, gave me a new point of view that was palatable to my knotted-up insides. Even though the book is extremely short, it would be hard to do it justice with a summary. It’s an easy read, but the theology is presented in stories and examples, not hashed out in monologue.
The point I took home was that I don’t need to know the reasons for suffering. No one else needs to know the reasons for me, either. God knows; God cares; God sees the happy ending. We can trust that it is happy, when we see all the pieces fit together.
Our desire for happy endings (like our desire for unconditional love) is placed in us by God, who created us in His image. And He created us with every intention to fulfill all the desires He put in us.
(I told you I couldn’t do the book justice. You’ll just have to read it.)
This book carried me through many more months of silence from God, while I waited.
I don’t know why some prayers are answered and some aren’t. Still, I believe it was the prayers of our parents and our friends that kept our marriage and faith intact. There are times when I regret that anyone knew our struggles. Telling people meant that our lives no longer looked “just right.” It meant that people had to guess at the right thing to say. But it also meant that faithful people were praying for us. (You know who you are – thank you!)
I hesitated to post this aspect of our story. But it’s important.
If you’ve done everything right,
but things are falling apart anyway…
If you’ve done it all wrong, and it’s falling apart…
If life looks messy and not Sunday-perfect…
This doesn’t make your faith any less. Don’t let it make your faith any less. This is the time when faith becomes so much more.
It was my responsibility to seek God faithfully, even in the worst times. Thank goodness, God chose to seek me, too, even when my faith utterly failed.
This post is part of a series on our journey through unexplained infertility. To read the rest of the story so far, please click here to see the index of posts.