Last week, Lisa had a great post on why she is thankful for infertility. After my previous post on Psalm 127, I had been thinking that the few things I had mentioned learning from infertility really didn't even begin to do justice to all the Lord has taught me through this trial. Also, I didn't want to give the wrong impression that because that post was about trusting and believing that God will "build our house"that I am only focused on the child which hopefully awaits. So I had been thinking about writing a post about all I had learned from infertility and then I see Lisa's post and felt like it was the Lord prompting me to write this. The thing is it is so easy to forget and I don't want to forget all the Lord has taught me. I didn't start blogging until I was in the midst of an IVF cycle, then I was pregnant, and then I miscarried. After which we did a second cycle and then moved. In the midst of all this there was much I didn't write about. Many posts have been written in my head, but never written here and so right now there is too much left unsaid. Even if no one else reads it, I want to have these things recorded for me to look back on. Of course, I hope it will encourage others. Some of what I have learned is a direct result of infertility/pregnancy loss and some was learned through experiences I would likely not have been able to have had I been a busy mother. I think many of these deserve their own separate post and so I am hoping to list them all here and then do separate posts for the ones I want to write more about. So here is my list:
1) When John and I had to be separated due to military service for a little over a year, I had one of the most difficult times in my life, but it was also a life changing experience (perhaps this wouldn't have even happened if we had conceived right away prior to John joining the Air Force). I ended up living with my cousin and becoming part of the small group she led at her house. This was my first experience with Christian fellowship and it changed my life forever. I learned so much about the Lord and it was at this time that I became "sold out" for the Lord. However, John did not have the same experience during this time and so when we reunited we were on different pages spiritually. If we had conceived at this time, we may have remained so because we may not have been able to take part in the Alpha course where John grew immensely. He even ended up facilitating a discussion group and then leading an Alpha course follow up group. I got to see my husband grow into an amazing man of God and I got the opportunity to serve along side of him - an answer to my prayers.
2) I got to study Romans when I first got to Florida at a ladies Bible study that didn't offer child care - another life changing experience. Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible - it presents the gospel so clearly. There is no one righteous, not even one, it is all about His grace. We can only respond in humility.
3) God's plans are better than my own - I learned this as God brought us from the Alpha course and into the small group He had planned for us. I had another plan in mind, but God showed me His ways are higher than mine. I don't know what I would have done if we hadn't had our small group when we lost Johannah. Because of this small group, I met Monica, my crisis care counselor who saw me through an amazing time of healing, not just from losing Johannah, but also from past hurts.
4) Learning about God's perfect plan through the Alpha course and through a study of Matthew (same Bible study where they didn't offer child care) taught me about surrendering to God's will for my life. I began to learn to give up trying to control and began to trust.
5) As we began to pursue infertility treatment, the Lord taught me the truth of Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." It was not in my control. I had to trust Him with the outcome.
6) During my first IVF cycle, I learned what it meant to take one day at a time and fix my eyes on Jesus. I learned God gives "strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow."
7) I learned to praise God no matter what because He is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.
8) I found hope.
9) I came to know of God's goodness and His love for me.
10) If you don't know He is good and that He loves you, you can't trust Him. You have to know Him to trust Him. I have come to trust Him.
11) I learned what the joy of our salvation is in my darkest hour.
12) God's ways are not my ways, neither are His thoughts my thoughts. We don't always understand why things happen.
13) I came to understand God remembers my sin no more and became truly free of my past.
14) Recently, I have been learning what it means to depend upon the Lord each day, asking Him for the grace and strength for the day.
15) I have learned so much about prayer, about having a genuine prayer life where I "pour out my heart to God." My prayer life is much deeper as a result.
16) I have become a more loving, compassionate person.
17) I have learned to wait upon the Lord, surrendering to His perfect way and timing.
18) Brokenness - I can now say not my will, but thy will be done and really mean it and desire it.
19) I appreciate the blessings in my life, like my husband, so much more. And we have grown closer together through all we have been through.
20) I believe in miracles and I have come to have faith that the Lord is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.
Despite the pain and hurt of infertility and pregnancy loss, I have much to be thankful for - the Lord has truly worked infertility for my good. Thanks Lisa for encouraging others to do this - I am so glad I did.