October was hard. Really hard. On the personal and family side of things. A month that started with a lot of hope, felt like it crashed and burned quickly.
After a disappointing, failed first round of fertility treatment in August, we started a second round of treatment and hefty meds in September. This time we actually made it all the way through an IVF cycle (which is no walk in the park, but those are details for another day). It was like holding my breath every single day. But after making it to an embryo transfer, I was filled with so much hope, thinking “this could finally be it”. Almost 2 years later.
Then life came crashing in at once. My mom started chemotherapy for breast cancer. Two days later my grandma passed away. Two days after the funeral, we go in for our long-awaited pregnancy blood test. (It’s an excruciatingly long wait from the day of the transfer to when you can take the actual test. It feels like forever.) We got the call later that afternoon that it was negative.
I haven’t been very acquainted with grief and mourning in my sheltered life. But I became acquainted quickly. I didn’t even have a name to put on our own personal situation. It wasn’t a miscarriage because it was never a clinical pregnancy. But if we believe that life begins at conception (and we do), then it was a life lost. We have a picture of our 3-day old embryo that they gave us, before they transferred it back in. It’s a little 8-celled miracle. It still sits on my dresser, partly because I’m just not sure what to do with it now. But that was a life. I do believe we have a child in heaven now.
A week later, we plunged back into another treatment cycle, anxious to keep the momentum going. But after a week of pills and shots and every other day doctor’s appointments, my body just wasn’t responding and we decided the best thing to do was to cancel the cycle. Talk about dashed hopes and feelings of “this is just never going to happen.” I had to have a talk with my doctor about if and how to move forward. That same day, my uncle died…
I had some straight up bouts of “ugly crying” that weekend. And moping around, and crying again. It was a tough couple of weeks and it just was too much. I learned about grief and feelings of brokenness. And I learned that I just needed to stop and figure out how I, personally, needed to deal with it. And that it was okay to feel how I felt.
Getting to the point of this story, if I had written this post when I first thought about it, it would have been very different. I was going to call it “A Time to Mourn”. There’s nothing wrong with that, but thanks be to God, the story didn’t stop there.
I was so glad to turn the page on October. I’ve never been happier for a new month to come.
November then turned into a big month of healing and growth for me. It’s hard to summarize, but I think that God had to take me to a place of brokenness to really start to find a hunger for Him.
“I will gladly rejoice because of Your gracious love,
because You recognized the sadness of my affliction.
You felt deep compassion when You saw the pains of my soul.”
Psalm 31:7 (The Voice)
I started devouring a couple of great books. The un-ironically similar Bittersweet and Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. Both exactly what I needed to read and worthy of their own posts. I started diving into different scriptures and finding that I had a hunger to know more of who God is. With refreshingly nothing to do with my circumstances. My circumstances were what helped drive me to this place, but I wasn’t looking up passages solely on hope and waiting anymore. I found a craving just to know Him better. I dove into Scriptures on the attributes of God, what He says about Himself, and His promises to us.
I found myself giving thanks to God despite, within and because of my circumstances. One particular devotion on SheReadsTruth.com (“Give Thanks in Sorrow”) struck me with this perfectly phrased message:
“God doesn’t ask us to silence our sorrow in favor of thanksgiving. Rather, He uses our sorrow to proclaim a type of thanksgiving we wouldn’t be able to express otherwise… Extracted from all earthly attachments, void of trimmings and trumpets sounding, sorrow is a connection to Christ and our need for Him in its purest form…”
I love that.
God doesn’t ask us to toss our grief and sorrow aside. To sugar coat it and forget it. He wants us to turn to Him in the midst of it. He hurts when we hurt. And it’s in the brokenness that we find a new dimension of Him that we wouldn’t know otherwise.
We learn about the Abba Father who wants us to climb into His lap and bring everything to Him – our hurts, our wants, our questions, our cries for healing and peace. This is the God that I’ve been discovering over the last several weeks. I’ve found myself praising Him for bringing me through this time of sorrow because it brought me to this place with Him that I wouldn’t know otherwise. And it’s a sweet place to be.
It IS the beauty in the brokenness.
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