I had known for a little while that our Pastor was going to be teaching a sermon on Hannah's prayer, with a focus on the issue of infertility. [sidenote: I truly appreciate that even though our church is over 2000 people on a Sunday (in all locations) the staff still made time to reach out to those of us they knew would be impacted by this message so we could prepare our hearts.]
The message was titled, 'From Barren to Blessed' and although I heard the message in the context of our struggle to have a baby, it also had a broader message. The promise we can trust is found in John 15 and it says, "Abide in me and you will bear much fruit." As we come to God in prayer we build intimacy, abiding in Him, we can trust that our lives will bear fruit.
However, this does not mean we will get everything we want, in the time we want it. It is a tough balance of trust and faith. Making space to celebrate the blessings we have and when necessary, grieve the things that are not yet here...knowing they may never be.
I have never had an issue sharing my heart about our struggle, but I was cautious of going forward for parer at the response time in the service. I was unsure how emotional I would get, and was also cautious about pushing Jeremy to an uncomfortable place. We are in this season very much together but it is hard, and we carry the weight of this in different ways.
We had some very good friends who were able to come with us to the service up north and i know their presence made our experience better. Sharing with a church community is good, but sharing with close friends is even more healing.
When the time came for response during the final time of worship I felt a strong pull to go forward for prayer. Jeremy was more hesitant, but said he would go with me if I wanted to go. After singing for a little while, I knew God was asking me to come forward. So Jeremy took my hand and we went. With each step, my broken heart felt heavier and heavier. By the time we reached the prayer team, I had no words. I opened my mouth to explain our situation and ask for prayer and all that came out were sobs. I actually dropped to my knees with the weight of the emotions I was feeling. I wept and wept, and then all of a sudden i realised that the tears splashing on the ground were not just mine, but they were Jeremy's too. In some ways that broke my heart a little bit more - but at the same time it gave me the hugest sense of peace to see his heart in that way. We have prayed so much about this, and in this moment all we had were tears, and they were our prayer, speaking loudly and honestly about what our hearts are feeling.
The prayer team were not scared off by our tears but instead prayed God's fruitfulness over our lives and his strength to sustain us. Our friends prayed God's grace and hope in our hearts. It was an amazing, healing, and life-giving time.
It feels like it has been a while since the raw emotions of our loss have been on the surface but this reminds me that infertility is a part of our lives, it will always be a part of our story, and it is changing us. This is not the journey we would have chosen, and yet we are able to find blessing and see the fruit in our lives when we look.
Of course, the cry of our hearts is that God will bless us with a child, but I am aware that I do not want to become so burdened by this sense of loss that I am unable to live well. It is not something that will stop being a desire of our hearts, and not something we will forget about. But we can also let it be something that draws us close rand closer to God, in a way that builds our intimacy with Him, and allows our lives to be even more fruitful.
EDIT- Here is the link to the sermon