The Wait List – April

The Wait List features guest posts from people just like you and me, all sharing a coming thread of you guessed it, waiting. No one wants to be on the wait list, but through these features, I hope you find encouragement and see all the miraculous ways God works through us during that time. If you are interested in sharing your story on The Wait List, please contact me.

Guest post written by April.

What one thing were you waiting for?
In 2006, after four wonderful years of marriage, my husband and I experienced our first miscarriage. It was lonely, violent, devastating and all the things that are the opposite of goodness and life. We hadn’t even been trying to get pregnant, but now that it was “on our radar,” we decided that, yes, we really did want to start a family now, and we began trying again. The first miscarriage was difficult, but I tried to look at the bright side – at least I was able to get pregnant easily, right? I was thrilled when we once again saw that double-pink-line-on-a-stick about eight months later. This was definitely going to be it. We had already suffered and struggled through a painful miscarriage. Surely this time around we would get our baby. But we miscarried that baby as well, around eight weeks. Now I was worried. And traumatized. And lonely. And depressed. So when we became pregnant for the third time, my heart was guarded. I was not even cautiously optimistic; I was just terrified. And sure enough, we lost that baby too, in the summer of 2008. If you’ve had a miscarriage, you know that three is kind of the magic number for doctors starting to take your case seriously and consider infertility testing, etc. After our third miscarriage in 18 months, we were finally able to get in to see a reproductive endocrinologist who ran all of the appropriate tests on me and my husband and came to the conclusion that…nothing was wrong.

That began a two year journey of continued infertility. Unlike the first year and a half when we were seemingly able to get pregnant easily, just not maintain the pregnancy, the next two years were simply barren. We didn’t have any positive pregnancy tests and our hope was drained. I was depressed, struggling with anxiety, isolated, angry and bitter. Then suddenly, in the spring of 2010, I realized I was “late”…quite late…and knew I needed to take a test. I dreaded it because I “knew” that the outcome would be emptiness even if the test was positive. My mind had been trained to expect the worst, and so when I saw the double-pink-line, I just broke down. I didn’t even call friends or family to tell them I was pregnant; I called them to tell them I was miscarrying. Because of course, that’s what would happen, right? But no. Not this time.

How did God help you in your wait? How did you continue to Live in the Wait?Throughout my wait, God was present in so many ways, although I didn’t see many of them until years had passed. The absolute, number one way that God helped me in my wait was by providing the most true and vulnerable friendships I could have ever imagined. Most of these friendships developed through church relationships – a life group that met in our home, a group of women who met weekly to pray, a kairos partner who met me for coffee in the wee hours of the morning before work. My best friend ended up struggling with infertility during the same time I did. There is no doubt that we are best friends to this day because of our common struggles during that stage in life. Nothing will bring you close to someone like baring the deepest, sometimes darkest, parts of your soul to someone and then praying and weeping and just waiting with each other. I could never explain how it fed my soul to have a friend who understood in every way what I was going through – the tests, the waiting, the frustration, the longing, the anger. We plodded through those years together, and I never would have made it without her and other friends I made along the way who were also living in the wait.

There’s a song by Lauren Daigle, whose new album is on continuous repeat at my house right now, called “Rescue.” The lyrics say:

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you.

When I was in the wait, when I was desperate and tired and hopeless, God sent out an army. He surrounded me with people filled with compassion, empathy, words of encouragement and hope. I believe that’s exactly what this beautiful site is doing – creating an army to fight for those who are struggling under the weight of their wait.

Besides friendship, I see many other beautiful blessings that came from living in the wait. It doesn’t seem fair that we sometimes only understand those blessings in retrospect, but I have definitely developed a level of thankfulness for that period of time in my life. Not only did my husband and I have more time to develop our relationship, go on adventures, take backpacking trips, run triathlons, develop deep friendships around late-night campfires, but we were also able to develop an understanding of suffering and an empathy for those who are hurting. I truly believe that had it not been for my own experience with infertility, I would most certainly have been one of those oblivious, annoying new mothers who posted 6,000 pictures to Facebook and spoke with absolute certainty on all things pregnancy and baby related. I would have been an obnoxious, know-it-all, self-proclaimed supermom. And with that self-knowledge, I am thankful for the humility I developed that has allowed me to be a listening ear and a compassionate friend for others.

My wait is technically over. I now have three beautiful children. After we had our daughter in 2011, we never struggled with infertility or miscarriage again. We achieved pregnancies with our second and third children without any struggle at all. It’s still very confusing. We didn’t change anything, and the doctors never found anything wrong. But even though my own personal wait in this particular area is over, I continue to live in the wait for others. I think one of the most beautiful fruits that can come from a time of suffering in your life is the ability it gives you to rise up and fight for others – or just sit and pray and listen with true empathy and understanding.

Was what you were waiting for received?
Today I have three incredible miracle children: Afton (7), Thomas (5), and Wilson (2). I always wanted three children. There were three children in my family growing up…maybe that’s why it always felt like the perfect number of children to me. So when I miscarried that third time, it just seemed cruel – like a vicious joke the universe was playing on me. Today, I do not ever, for a single moment, take for granted that I have three beautiful children. I don’t think it works that way for everyone. I don’t think everything always comes “full circle” or that we can predict what the ending will look like. But I do believe that, for me, God brought that dream to fruition in His time because He is a good and gracious and loving God. He knows us so intimately in the deepest parts of our soul.  He wants to give us good gifts and demonstrate His faithfulness in just the right way for each and every one of us individually.

What advice would you give to someone else who is in the waiting?
I’m going to reference another Lauren Daigle song, but she says it so perfectly in “I Remember”:

In the darkest hour, when I cannot breathe
Fear is on my chest, the weight of the world on me
Everything is crashing down, everything I had known
When I wonder if I’m all alone
I remember, I remember
You have always been faithful to me
I remember, I remember
Even when my own eyes could not see
You were there, always there.

In the Bible, throughout the history of the Israelites, God was constantly reminding His people, through prophets or leaders, to remember the great works He had done for them – the miraculous signs and wonders that had saved them and freed them time and time again. The Psalmists also frequently call for a remembrance of God’s faithfulness:

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Psalm 11:11-12

When we feel like everything is crumbling and nothing will ever change, it’s so important to remember the times when God has been faithful in our lives. I will be the first to admit that I am not always very good at this in times of waiting. Unfortunately I was a lot like the Israelites; I grumbled…a lot. It’s so hard to see past our immediate circumstances to the big picture of God’s faithfulness in our lives. I became angry and bitter and it took me years to work through that even after my ultimate prayer for a child had been answered. So I encourage you to seek out friends who can help you. Read books that will point you to thankfulness and God’s goodness. Find sites like this that can be a community and an inspiration to you in the wait. And of course, if all else fails, throw on a little Lauren Daigle, get on your knees, and lay it all out before our loving God. Bless you sisters. I’m praying today for every person who visits this site – that above all else, you would find Jesus sitting right beside you as you wait.

Please pass this message along to anyone you know who could use some encouragement in the wait, had a miscarriage or is going through infertility.

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