I’ve been looking through some old photographs, mostly from high school and college. It’s amazing how different we look, only 10-12 years later! I sent a picture to my husband, and we laughed together about “those skinny kids.” We thought we had so much of life “figured out.” We were the kids who obeyed the rules, followed good advice, and generally stayed on the “safe side” of life. In picture after picture I see us laughing, our eyes sparkling. Lots of silliness and fun. We were blessed.
Then infertility came, and much of the light went out of our eyes. We didn’t know life could hurt like this. We felt betrayed by the empty promises we’d swallowed: “Follow your dreams…you can do anything you set your mind to…the sky’s the limit…if you can dream it you can be it…” We felt tricked by the lie we’d believed, that following the rules kept you safe from hurt. The misconception that “if I do what I should, God will give me what I want.” (Sometimes it’s more important that God change “the desires of our heart” to match His heart!)
The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Those were some hard years, as God sifted through our faulty theology, gently replacing it with His truth. I didn’t want to let go of what I believed. In my immaturity, I preferred the idea of a partnership with God, wherein I did X, He did Z. But God is so much bigger than that. He is sovereign, He is right, and He is good…even when my feelings don’t agree. And He sees so much more than I ever could…
For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13:12
Our eyes look different now. There is a warm glow of joy and peace and confidence. In many pictures now our eyes aren’t looking at the camera, but instead are fixed on our precious, curly-haired boy.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8*
The 18-year-old girl at college, the 21-year-old getting married, they didn’t know what this 31-year-old does: That joy isn’t limited by circumstance…that God walking with me is more important than where I’m walking…that pain is part of life, but God redeems that pain with beauty impossible to describe…that it’s worth it, all of it, to see a glimpse of what God is doing, and who He is.
…to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3
I now treasure our infertility as the tool God used to get our attention and steer us toward adoption. The price was high, but the rewards of deeper intimacy with God were absolutely worthwhile. And the joy we take in our son is tremendous. What a gift infertility has been for us. What a painful, wonderful gift.
*"Keep me as the apple of the eye - Preserve me; guard me; defend me, as one defends that which is to him most precious and valuable." Barnes Notes on the Bible