In the past few weeks, I have read a number of thought-provoking blog posts containing "Letters to my 20 year old self". After Jennifer passed on the Honesty Award to me, I thought about what I would honestly write in a letter to the 23 year old, one-year married Rachel. That is the part of me who would need a letter the most.
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...to Him be glory..." Ephesians 3:20
Yesterday you (the future you) blew out your candles on your 26th birthday cake.
As of today, you have still not become pregnant.
Calm down, girl. I haven't finished yet.
You are not pregnant, but guess what? You are a mother!
Read on and I'll explain.
I know you are going through an incredibly difficult time right now. I know you feel lonely and sad and angry and jealous and heartbroken and confused.
You lay in bed at night staring into the darkness as tears soak your pillow and wonder if you will ever be a mom. You wake each morning and pray to God to help you, to give you peace. You pray boldly and ask the Lord to bless you and Josh with a child.
As I sit here writing this letter to you today, I cry with you. I just want to take you in my arms, hug you so tightly, and tell you that you will get through this. You will be happy. You will be granted the peace you long for.
You feel like you are the only one going through the thorn that is infertility. All around you there are couples cooing over their babies......and you feel very much alone. You read countless books that say 10% of all couples are suffering through this hardship....and yet you wonder "Who and where are all these people?! I don't know any of them!"
So for the most part you stay silent. You bottle up your feelings, put a smile on your face, and convince yourself that you are doing just "fine". You save your occasional breakdowns for your husband or for those late night cry sessions.
In regards to that point....Go ahead and give yourself 10 minutes for a good cry. Punch that pillow! Stomp that foot! And then say a big prayer and move on. Also, don't take everything out on Josh. He is your best friend and your biggest cheerleader. He, too, is going through this. You are in this together!
By the way, you are now married to a soon-to-be pastor. Don't worry, it's Josh! He will trade in his hammer for a Hebrew book. He will work incredibly hard and be blessed because of it. He will continue to be the most incredible husband. Oh, and I'm writing this to you from Indiana. I know you think you could NEVER EVER live outside of Wisconsin without having a break down, but you can! The people at church will become like your family away from home.....and you will cherish the visits back to your home state.
Rachel, you are blessed to be a part of an amazing Sisterhood. You have the privilege of standing among the great women of the Bible who suffered through the pain of infertility - Hannah, Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Rebekah. Women who lived a few thousand years before you, but completely felt what you are feeling - the longing to have a child and the disappointment of not holding that child in your arms. They are your Sisters.
In years to come, you will meet more amazing Sisters who will immediately be bonded to you because of the struggle you share. When one of those Sisters is blessed with a child, you will rejoice with them. When one of their heart's ache, your heart will ache. You will encourage each other and pray for each other. Because you GET IT. You get it. Seek out these Sisters. They are out there! You will be blessings to each other. Once you are a part of the Sisterhood, you're in for a lifetime. The pain may surely fade, but the scars and experiences will forever be somewhere deep in your heart.
Along the way, you will also be encouraged by incredible family and friends. Ones you know in every day life and ones that you may never meet face to face on this earth. They will follow your journey to your baby and give thanks that you will soon be a mother. You will love them all dearly.
I know you long for the time that upon the announcement of another woman's pregnancy, there will no jealous feelings mixed in with your happiness for them.....and therefore no feelings of guilt because of that jealousy. I can assure you, Rach, that that time will most certainly come.
So yes, like I said in the beginning of this letter, you ARE a mother! Congratulations! You are anxiously awaiting the phone call that will bring the news of your baby who is half way across the world. You and Josh are giddy with excitement. Your heart has already swelled and you haven't even seen your baby's face or held him in your arms. Your love for this little one takes your breath away.
Believe it or not, in the near future you will see infertility as a blessing! It has brought you closer to the One who loves you more than anyone else. The aching you feel now will intensify the joy you will feel the moment you see your baby's face even more! You and Josh will be better parents because of what you have gone through. God will use the next few years to mold and prepare you to be Christian parents focused on bringing up one of His precious lambs to know Jesus.
Just days before your 26th birthday, you will here this song on the radio...
You'll sing along with the words and tear up. You will say "Yes! That's it!"
And I wouldn't change a thing
I'd walk right back through the rain
Back to every broken heart
On the day that it was breakin'
And I'd relive all the years
And be thankful for the tears
I've cried with every stumbled step
That led to you and got me here, right here
Rachel, please know that in 3 years, you will not want to change a single step in your journey toward motherhood. I'm not saying the path will be easy, but you WILL be thankful for each step....those that were made with confidence and those that were stumbled. Either way, the Lord is holding your hand and He is guiding you. Simply follow Him!
Now, go read a good book - most importantly The Word, take up a new hobby (blogging for example - yes that is an actual thing!) spend time with family and friends, cherish each moment with Josh, and give thanks and glory to God in everything. In a few short years your life will change. Don't let your longing to be a mother stop you from enjoying each precious moment. Every day is a gift.
Most of all, Rach, cling to God's promises. You are a sinner who has been saved by the Savior. You are forgiven for every sin, every jealous thought, every doubt. He has promised to be with you always. And my, oh my, does He love you!
Yes, you are a mother. As you will blow out your candles on your 26th birthday cake, you will say a prayer for a sweet baby who is over 6 thousand miles away, but so close in your heart......that baby, your baby, will make you a mom. Neither you nor I know the exact time when you will hold your precious little one, but the time is coming! (Insert here the 2 of us squealing and high-fiving and crying happy tears!)
Chin up, girl. Smile.
You are blessed. You are a mother.
In His Hands,