Ever since I allowed myself to write a few days ago, I have been extremely weepy. I have cried more the last few days than I have in 8 months. I am crying at everything. Happy tears. Sad tears. Just because tears, which are maybe really cleansing tears. I am realizing I am feeling again. I think in a lot of areas I had been going through the motions of life for a while now, and didn’t even realize it. As I have been reflecting these last few days and allowing myself to embrace what it feels like to be emotionally raw, I have been shown scriptures that have to do with remembering. God remembering his covenant with Noah through the symbol of a rainbow (Genesis 9:15). God commanding his people to “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” (Deuteronomy 5:15) And as I’ve been reading this, I feel God calling me to do some remembering of my own.
There was another time in my life that was marked by a darkness. It began shortly after the birth of our second son in 2000. I was completely blessed with two step-daughters that I gladly claimed as my own (the oldest lived with us), our seven year old son, and now our newborn baby boy. We made the choice for me to have a tubal ligation during my last cesarean. Our family was complete.
However, within a month of having this sweet, baby boy my heart began to ache. Truly ache for a little girl we would never have as husband and wife. It became a completely frustrating situation. I could not even begin to guess how many conversations I had initiated with my husband over that six year time frame about “never having a little girl” and all the things I would “never” do that ended up with me in tears. He would just simply say with the saddest look in his eyes for me, “I’m sorry.” And that is where it would end. It had to end there. There were no options. God, please just make this go away. I am so selfish.
But, this feeling didn’t go away. And the more I prayed for God to relieve me of this overwhelming desire, the more suppressing it felt. I lived in a private world of complete heartache and isolation that I could not explain. I didn’t think I could share my emotions with anyone that I mourned the loss of a little girl that I never had. Even the thought of it sounded ridiculous. I was blessed with four children through marriage and births, and yet I was having nightmares about empty pink cribs. There were three different times over those years that I walked into the local grocery store only to leave a full basket of groceries and walk out in tears because I had been so overwhelmed by watching a mom push a little brown-haired girl in a cart while they giggled and smiled. This same image was a frequent of my dreams at night. It was always a brown-haired little girl. I could never see her face in my dreams, but I could always see that she had long brown hair, sometimes pulled up, and sometimes I would hear the sweetest, most infectious giggle as she threw her head back in joyous abandon while I smiled. They felt so real.
Then, finally. An answer, or so I thought. I had to have a complete hysterectomy in March of 2005. Relief and rest in knowing that the thoughts in the back of my mind to ask my husband to support me in a tubal reversal were gone. No turning back now. Right? Wrong. Again, the darkness quickly came back.
I was so selfish. I had friends dealing with infertility, so what right at all did I have to desire more? What was wrong with me? Weren’t my boys enough? That was the question I feared the most. I struggled to put into audible words what I was feeling for fear of this single question. Why weren’t they enough?
However, one moment can change everything. I hit a point where I could not breathe. I finally cried out to my husband on that summer day in August of 2006 and through gasps for air and a flood of tears, I said out loud what I had been burdening alone for six years. I read him my journal entry from that day. I don’t think at first he knew what to do with me, let alone with what I was saying. I just knew I was to a point that he had to make it better. He had to make me better. He had to help me get out of this pain I had been carrying around in secret. Even though I feared all of this probably made no sense to him at all, he had to do something.
He did. God had prepared my precious husband’s heart for this moment. He stayed very calm and I could see in his eyes he understood. He processed my cry for help for barely a moment, and then looked right at me and stated with the confidence and clarity that I so desperately needed, “We need to adopt a little girl.” Wow. Why had I not thought of that? That is honestly what I thought. I am sure partly I thought this because in fourteen years of marriage, we had never talked about adoption, at least not for us. Through all of the years of desolate heartache, I never allowed myself to think that we could adopt. Why would I? It made no sense with four kids (couples adopt that couldn’t have children), where would the money come from (we already supported four kids), and we are older (at the time my sweet husband had barely turned 42 and our oldest daughter was married). It didn’t make sense. But it did. To God it did. To God it always did.
You see, in that moment, God allowed a new journey to begin to overcome my darkness. One that my husband, not me, would lead. One that showed me in an instant how God had required me to carry an unrelenting burden for a little girl I did not know to force us to do something to “make me better” which in turn would lead us to her. One that showed me that it was NEVER about my boys not being ENOUGH, but it was ALWAYS about the fact that our family really wasn’t yet COMPLETE.
Praise God for never forgetting us, and being willing to always remind us to remember Him. Always. In all things. Even the darkness.
And so, our journey to overcome this darkness began on August 19, 2006. Little did we know at that time that our daughter was about to turn four months old.
What a blessing it is to remember
a journey from darkness to Hope…
PS~This is a re-post shared on Ann Voskamp’s site A Holy Experience for Walk with Him Wednesdays. Please join her and others for encouragement to find Joy during times of suffering.