Thank you all so much for the outpouring of support, encouragement, and prayers from my last post, where I opened up about our journey through infertility. I wasn’t quite sure if many people would read it, or what reactions might be. But I was blown away. I do hope these posts can be – at the same time – authentic, open, informative, God glorifying, and encouraging to those going through any sort of trial.
In the spirit of remaining authentic and vulnerable (since I don’t have everything together), I will tell you there have been some hard days. If I had written these posts in May or June, they might have been a bit more raw. There were a couple days in June where I think I got a taste of what depression might feel like. It only lasted a couple days luckily. I was definitely not myself.
It can be challenging when it seems like everyone around you is pregnant and your Facebook feed is full of birth announcements and gender reveals. Or so much worse, when you hear stories at work of children who are pregnant as a result of the unspeakable abuse they have suffered. It seems so backwards and unjust. It’s hard.
At IJM, we have quarterly all-staff prayer retreats (a phenomenal perk for which I am so grateful). At our June retreat, Nancy Ortberg was our speaker. She is an amazing example of someone who can at once be open, raw, incredibly God honoring and full of practical wisdom. In the midst of sharing with us some of her life’s trials, she dropped a piece of wisdom that I picked up and have clutched like a treasure ever since. She said:
“Trials are a test of our joyful confidence in God.”
Read that again slowly…
Trials are a test of our joyful confidence. In God. Despite our circumstances. In the midst of trials. Knowing, believing, clinging to the hope and truth that God’s plans are best. Even when we don’t understand it or feel it. Trials are an opportunity to show where our hope really lies.
Similarly, and perfectly complementary, in a Tim Keller sermon that I keep going back to called “Peace – Overcoming Anxiety”, he said:
- Peace is confidence and trust in God’s good and wise control of your life.
- Joy is a buoyancy. It’s unsinkable. It’s a focus on the unchanging privileges we have in God.
Peace and an unsinkable joyful confidence. This has become a prayer for myself and one I’ve had others praying for me too. That I would maintain a joyful confidence and a peace, despite our circumstances. Despite what our feelings of the day would like to dictate.
God has definitely answered that prayer and I am so grateful. We are actually in a pretty good place right now. We knew God started answering that prayer for peace and a joyful confidence when we walked out of the doctor’s office in late June with our medical plan of action (after months of waiting for insurance to work out so we could start doing something) and we actually felt really light and carefree crossing the parking lot back to our car. How many people leave a fertility clinic practically skipping and laughing to their car? I knew it was strange… Only God.
And we’ve experienced relative peace… through some pretty brutal medical treatment involving 2 weeks a month of self-administered shots, 3 times a day… Only God.
I don’t know what next month will bring, but I’m learning to lean on Him for each and every day. That’s really all I can do. And quite honestly, that’s not a bad place to be.
“Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure.” ~James 1:2-3 (The Voice)
How do you find peace and joy in the midst of trials? What are some Bible verses that you turn to in those hard times?