Sunday, October 6, 2013

IVF #9: Realizations and Plans

"I have learned that the bitter, almost unbearable pain can become sweet as you turn to your Father in Heaven and plead for His comfort..." Source

They always say that trials have a way of making you stronger.  Sometimes it's hard to see that when you're in the thick of it.  When it hurts so much emotionally that you're physically hurting too.  Looking back though, I can already see I've grown from this trial in less than 2 months!  I really wanted to write all of these things down for myself, so I don't forget.  But, I also hope that the things I learned through this trial will help you with a trial you're facing as well.

Realization #1: We All Have Our STUFF
The older I get, the more experience I gain, and the more people I meet the more I realize that everyone has their "stuff".  You may look at someone and think that they have the perfect life.  I promise they don't.  Whether you know about it or not, everyone has trials that they are facing.  Some are more public than others, but everyone is dealing with some kind of heartbreak, disappointment, loss, or frustration.  Whether it is someone who is struggling financially and earnestly seeking employment to no avail.  Or, the single young adult who is wishing they could find their eternal companion and fearing their "time" is running out.  Or, those who are struggling with mental or physical illnesses.  Or, those who are struggling with addictions.  Or, those who are struggling to overcome the infidelity of a spouse.  Or, those who are suffering with the lasting effects of abuse.  Or those who are mourning the loss of a loved one.  Or, those who's hearts are breaking from fear that they may never be able to have children.  We all have our stuff.  And, we may be surprised to realize how many parallels there are in these struggles.  It seems there is always fear, worry, discouragement, heartbreak, frustration, and sadness involved.  However, there can also be an increase in patience, humility, trust in the Lord, and individual strength if we endure these trials well.

Realization #2: The Lord WEEPS with us
In John Chapter 11 we read the story of Lazarus' death.  Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, send for the Lord because their brother is sick, but by the time He gets there Lazarus is dead.  His sisters weep and tell the Lord that if He had been there Lazarus wouldn't have died, but he's too late (essentially).  Then the Lord weeps with them.  He who knows all things past, present, and future.  He who KNOWS that He will raise Lazarus from the dead momentarily, still weeps.  The Lord understands that even though He knows that every thing will be ok in the end, that Mary and Martha don't have that same knowledge.  He empathizes with the pain of their current situation.

Thus it is with all the trials in our lives.  It's perfectly ok to feel sadness, disappointment, frustration, and even anger!  In fact, I think the Lord is right there next to us--weeping with us!  Even though He knows that "...all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good," the Lord still has perfect empathy for those feelings and for our inability to see the road ahead.  I have felt his comforting arms around me as I've walked this long, painful, and sometimes lonely road.  He'll never abandon us.

Realization #3: Incorrect Understanding of Faith
Throughout this process my understanding of faith became skewed.  I really started to believe that having faith meant to convince myself that this WOULD happen.  I became obsessed with never thinking, "What if this doesn't work?"  I wouldn't let myself think anything other than that our IVF would work.  I started to believe that if I thought, even for a second, that it was possible that it wouldn't work that I wouldn't be having "faith".

Here is where I went wrong.  Faith is not a stubborn conviction that things will work out the way YOU want them to.  Faith is knowing that the Lord will carry you through, whether things work out the way you want them to or not.  Faith is believing that the Lord will keep His promises.  Faith is believing and trusting that the Lord has a marvelous plan for you that is better than anything you can imagine--even if that's difficult to see sometimes.

Realization #4: What it Means to REALLY Trust in the Lord
When facing a trial we hear a lot about the Lord's will and His timing.  Sometimes it can seem as though we are just a piece in some game being moved back and forth by a Lord who is indifferent to how we feel.  We seem to forget that the Lord weeps with us, like I mentioned earlier, and that His will is just another way of saying that which is going to bring us the most joy and success in the long run.  I know that He is always most concerned with what will be best for us.

After we received our news about our failed treatment I became more submissive and meek than I think I've ever been in my entire life.  I think for the first time I really turned everything over to the Lord.  I saw how powerless I really am to change the situation.  It was as though I knelt before the Lord and laid my burdens at His feet saying, "Ok, I've had enough.  I can't do this on my own and I'm ready to turn my burden and, more importantly, my will, over to you.  I trust you."  It was the most freeing feeling.  It's hard to adequately explain, but through this trial I learned what it really means to "trust in the lord with all thine heart..."

Realization #5: We Can CHOOSE to Be Happy
Have you seen this video?  I love how she talks about that moment when she discovered that she had been voted as the ugliest woman in the world.  She says she had a decision to make.  She could either choose to be happy or bitter.  It really touched my heart to see how she has taken such an overwhelming trial and used it to touch the lives of so many others through her motivational speeches.  

After our failed cycle and as I struggled through that heartbreak I realized that I could choose to be happy.  Being happy is a choice.  That is why people in horrible circumstances in developing countries, or people with fatal diseases can somehow have a smile on their face.  It's a choice.  So, I've learned to focus on the good things in my life.  I'm so, so blessed.  I can choose to look for the good.  I can choose to live, really live, in my life right now and enjoy the moment instead of always waiting for this trial to end.  I'm choosing to be happy.

I hope that following our journey has helped you in some way with some trial you are facing.  After all, we're all sons and daughters of God just trying to find our way and it's a lot easier if we help each other.

So, Where Do We Go From Here?
Well, we are extremely blessed because we have lots of little embryos waiting for us in the freezer.  We know without a doubt that this is a tender mercy from the Lord.  The Utah Fertility Center has a great Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) success rate.  It wasn't His will for this to work for us this time, but we'll have more opportunities.  In the meantime, your love, support, and prayers have carried us through.  We know that the Lord's promises to us will be fulfilled.


Katie said...

LOVE that picture! Love the rest of it too! :)

Sophia & Cameron said...

What a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing your trials and faith with all of us. It really has been an inspiration as I have been going through my own "stuff" to feel encouraged and uplifted by your stalwart faith.

Lana said...

These posts are really incredible. You have such a peaceful feeling about your writing in this post. Also, that picture is to die for. WHERE was that taken. It's just beautiful.

Amy said...

You're perspective and wisdom can be applied equally to anyone going through any trial. Some of the things you wrote I don't think I had thought of before and you put faith in a new light. You are so courageous and strong. I totally admire you, Steph.

Captivating Eyes said...

Thank you so much for these wonderful reminders! I think sometimes we get so stuck in our problems we forget to think about others around us that may be struggling. You are such an inspiration!!

Lana said...

Re-read this today. The lesson you learned in faith is absolutely what I've been learning this year. I started this year thinking that if I don't just hope and pray with all my might that my mom will beat brain cancer forever, that she will and if I waiver at all it will be my fault that the Lord doesn't heal her. One of my best friends sent me a talk back in April about a young couple who find out the husband has an awful bone cancer right after they got married. One of the general authorities was his MIssion pres, and came to give him a blessing in the hospital. He asked him before the blessing, "Do you have the faith NOT to be healed?" Ever since that talk I have battled that question all year. Do I have the faith for my mom to die from brain cancer. And I've wondered from time to time what kind of a sick twisted God we have if I have to have faith that he will let her die... and recently I discovered that faith is not that God will give you your wish, although we all need to hope for things we need... it's that if things don't turn out how we want (aka my mom dies from this way before we ever thought she would) that I won't die from the broken heart I'll have. I still waiver in this faith now, because who wouldn't with how hard this is... but I know that whatever happens, she will be taken care of by God, and she will always be my mother, and I will see her again someday if I can't now.

And now I'm crying, so I'll end this.

Love you cousin. You really are spreading your powerful testimony to the far reaches of the world with just a simple blog. You are a force to be reckoned with.