9,923,401,207: The approximate number of tears I have cried over my biggest hurt. I'm pretty sure that's enough to fill a few swimming pools, though I haven't done the math.
There isn't much frilly language I can add to this to make it witty. This is coming from a place so deep inside myself that I'm hesitant to share it, but if you read my blog a few days ago, I'm doing this series because there is a chance that my greatest mission could come from my greatest hurt. What good is it to have that knowledge and not put it to use? Everyone has something that's agonizing to them. A loss, a betrayal, a failure, a flaw, a horrifying, traumatic experience. Everyone has the inkling of the age-old question, "Why do bad things happen to good people" somewhere inside of them. And whatever your hurt is, don't read this blog and compare it to mine. Please read this blog and apply it to yours.
I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to have a baby with my husband for almost eight years. He's not the problem, because we already have three kids and they're all biologically his from his previous marriage. He's been tested, I've been tested, everything's 'fine'. I'm not telling you these things because I want your sympathy, or your ideas on what to try next, so please, please do not give me either of those things. While I appreciate your thoughts and prayers, that's not what this is about. I'm sharing my hurt with you because I'm sharing my Journey with you while you're on yours. To do this, I must be completely honest, so the rest of this post might come as a shock to you in its bare-naked honesty. The one thing I've learned, however, is that God can take our honesty -- the more real the better -- because He knows us inside and out, and he wants us to give it all to Him: the good, the bad, and the so-bitterly-horrible-you-feel-like-dying-sometimes. So, here goes.
I've run the gamut of emotions, watching my friends have babies over the last several years. Some who were trying, some who were not trying, and some who were trying everything *not* to have babies. I've been happy for them, of course. I've been there for them in any way I can, whether it was in the hospital while they gave birth, or in my prayers, or babysitting, or hearing stories of the funny or gross stuff their kids did. I love it all. Yet, there is a part of me that, with every smiling Christmas photo of a happy couple and their child(ren), that dies a little more inside.
I have asked God for a baby. I have wheedled God for a baby. I have flat-out begged God for a baby. I have thrown myself on the floor in agony, sobbing incoherently, babbling to Him that I just don't understand what's wrong, or why He's doing this to me. I have screamed at Him and told Him how unfair He was, how He knows what a good parent I've been to kids I didn't give birth to, so why? WHY won't He let me have the joy of having a baby with my husband, one we don't have to share with an ex-wife, one we can raise 100% the way we want to raise. A baby we can be involved in the raising process from birth to adulthood, without one or the other of us missing a few years or months or weekends of. A little hand to hold onto as we cross the street, a little mouth forming the word 'Mama' for the first time.
I ache inside my heart in a way that I cannot fully describe in words. I am angry. I am so terribly angry at God I can't even think about it without bursting into tears. And He knows it, because He's God. I can't hide it from Him. I have never wanted something so badly in my life. It's something GOOD. It's not like I'm having an infernal desire for some crazy sin and He's not giving it to me. It's a pure, biblical desire -- "Be fruitful and multiply," He told Adam and Eve.
He has a reason.
As true as those words are, let me continue my stark, blatant honesty: I hate those words. I know He has a reason. I'm not pouting because my Mommy wouldn't give me a cookie after I brushed my teeth for bed. I'm grieving because I'm infertile. Telling myself that He has a reason does not make me feel better. It makes me feel worse. Because I don't know the reason. As if, somehow, knowing the reason would make me feel better.
My anger and frustration and sadness has only recently started to become numbness. With each new pregnancy of a friend or family member, I maintain my happiness for them -- but instead of the grueling envy or instantaneous rage at God I have felt in the past, I just don't feel anything.
You're still waiting for the inspirational outcome of this tirade, aren't you?
I can't tell you that I'm inspired. I can't tell you that I am, as yet, completely comforted. All I can tell you is that God can take it all. He can take your anger, your frustration, your sadness, your disillusionment, your weeping, your bitterness, your sense of injustice. You don't have to hide it from Him. He wants you, all of you, just as you are. It's when you begin to trust Him, when you begin to give it all over to Him, that you begin to heal.
I might not ever be able to have a baby. That's not going to kill me. Certainly it will hurt me deeply, but what will hurt me more is if I kept this all to myself and never helped anyone else by using the knowledge I've gained on my Journey.
We hold our children's hands as they cross the street for a reason. They pull and yank and want to run free, right into oncoming traffic, because they don't know any better. They want what they want. We keep our toddlers from touching a hot stove. It looks bright and exciting and joyous to them, but we know the harsh consequences if they get what they want. They cry and stomp their feet and throw a little tantrum when we pull them away, but we did what was best for them. We cut their hotdogs into tiny pieces so they don't choke. We put them in a carseat despite their wailing protests. There is a reason for everything we do.
There is a reason.
He has a reason.
I don't like it, and it doesn't make me feel better, but as a parent, I know I'm right when I tell our kids something they don't like. So, as a child of God, I have to trust that His reasoning is better than mine. I know the answer to my "Why?" is Him saying, "Because I said so." I know the answer to my "Can I?" is His "We'll see." I know that no amount of tantrum-throwing, sobbing, crying, pouting, or moping is going to change the outcome.
What I know most of all is that He is my Father, and there is nothing I can say or do that will make Him love me less. He can handle my emotions, even when I don't feel like I can. He has heard every cry, and He has comforted me time after time when I come to Him for it after lashing out.
Lamentations 3:31-32 For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.
Sometimes, God is looking at our pain, saying and feeling what we, as parents often do: "This hurts me more than it hurts you."
I take comfort in knowing that whatever the reason, and whatever the outcome, He's there for me now, for all my emotions, and He'll be there after all is said and done, loving me just the same.