If it weren’t for being infertile, I wouldn’t understand God’s love for me.
Like many people, my childhood shaped my view of God. Growing up in a pastor’s home was hard for me; I never felt like I could be real. Everyone watched what I did. I didn’t even know my real self because I hid it from everyone, living in fear that I would disappoint my dad or the church.
My truest self was a secret, even to me. I was pretending to be a good Christian girl on the outside, but on the inside I felt lost. After a while, it completely turned me off to God; I was done with faith and religion. I never stopped attending church, but I was totally faking it the whole time.
In college, I met my husband while working at Juice It Up. He grew up in church too. But because of all the anger that had been building up over the years, when I got married I quit caring about church. My husband didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to go to church, I didn’t want to read the bible, I didn’t want anything to do with any of it. That was the starting point of a really tumultuous marriage.
He didn’t realize he had married such an angry young woman.
There were many times I would get enraged and take everything out on him. We kept score against each other, always accusing and always pointing out how the other was going wrong.
Nothing satisfied me. He tried to meet my needs, but nothing he did ever could. I just knew that I didn’t like God, at all. My husband eventually told me that he was scared of me.
Even in the midst of all the anger, we decided to try and have kids.
The journey began and we couldn’t get pregnant. After almost a year, we went to the doctor and we found out that it was going to be really hard for us to have a child. We tried four inseminations and none of them worked, so we decided to do in vitro fertilization. I remember breaking down when I received the box of shots that I had to give myself daily.
During that time we were attending a small church. God was not on my priority list; in fact, I didn’t even speak with him, but we kept attending nonetheless. Oddly enough, at this church there was a group of women who also experienced infertility. It was in that space, that God gave me a friend who was going through the same exact thing that I was at the same exact time.
The journey of infertility had caused me to be very guarded and closed off, and so my counselor challenged me to open up to people and be real. That is when the story of my new friend really began. Since she was also on the same infertility path with me, I surrendered my walls, and decided to be real with her. I actually shared with her that I was angry with God and that I knew he didn’t love me.
She challenged me and said, “God is big enough to handle your anger.”
The truths I learned while being real began to heal my heart and I started trusting that God loved me. Even though I didn’t accept God’s love, he sent people to show me his love and I started accepting his love from other people.
At that time, my pastor’s wife began taking me out to dinner and telling me about God’s love. I told her I never felt God’s love, but she told me that God has a space in his heart for me, only me, that nobody else could fill. That got me. The same evening I went home and began reading my Bible. After that evening I started viewing my infertility through God’s perspective.
After two tries of in vitro, we still didn’t have a baby. It was extremely hard. This was my biggest dream and God wasn’t giving it to me.
I knew he could, but he wasn’t.
My husband would find me lying on the bathroom floor broken, weeping. He would lean down, put his arms around me and hold me until I stopped. It was during these times that our marriage began to repair.
For many, it would seem there are so many reasons I should have rebelled and never spoken to God again after this, but he used this broken dream and a community of believers to heal my heart.
After a long few years, we decided to pursue adoption. We went into that completely scared and timid. We had been waiting and praying. Yes, I was actually praying again.
I finally started seeing God for who he was and how he saw me. I began to understand that he loved me and wasn’t disappointed in me for not being perfect, but saw me for who I am and loved me anyway.
That growing faith is what helped me through the adoption process.
One Sunday, we decided to visit Sandals Church because we heard the focus that day was on foster care. I was wrecked. In that service I realized there are so many children out there longing for parents and here I was, a mom, longing for a child. It was the month of July and in my heart, I felt God tell me to wait for August.
On August 16, we got a call. Through a family member’s connection, we found out about two children who needed a home. I called over as soon as possible and the social worker said, “Actually, there are three siblings. If you will take all three, we will highly consider you.”
My husband and I decided to meet them and as soon as we got there, we knew they were our kids. They had been neglected, abused. There was a five-year-old, a three-year-old and a one-year-old. Later, in December, they became our children.
These kids needed love. I remember asking my son when I first met him, “Has anybody ever hugged you like this?” he said, “No, never; I want you to be my mommy.”
We continued to attend Sandals Church and the whole concept of being real changed our lives and our marriage. We started being real with one another.
I also saw my newfound faith and ability to be real completely shaping our parenting.
Early on, after he had gotten in trouble, my son always asked, “Do I have to get a new mom now?”
I realized that their mindset was the same as mine was for most of my life, “If I mess up, I will lose God’s love and my family’s love.”
This broke my heart, and every time I found myself telling my son things I needed to hear too:
“God forgives us right away and he doesn’t bring it up anymore. I’m your mom and I want to forgive like that too. If you come to me and tell me you did something wrong, I will forgive you and love you no matter what.”
We are still working through our lives and nothing is perfect, but now we know we are going to get through it because we know God loves us.
I see now that God used my infertility to prove his love to me. And now God is using me to show his love to our children. It’s still hard, but it’s beautifully real.