My Gift of Suffering

-Written January 2017 but never posted-

Lately I have felt exhausted, emotionally and physically. The holidays were wonderful but filled with a lot of new and exciting but challenging things for our family.

I shared awhile ago that we were ready to grow our family again through adoption. Well we decided it was time to find a lawyer and start the legal part so when we did find a birth mom we would be ready to go. A week before Christmas I received an unexpected phone call about a birth mom who wanted to place her child for adoption and we matched what she was looking for. This was a surprise to us since we hadn’t even made a profile or had been actively putting ourselves out there yet. We were planning on standing outside of an abortion clinic with a sign saying “Are you pregnant, freaking out? We can help, We are ready to adopt”. This is a whole other blog post…coming soon.

Within a week of the phone call we met the birth mom at Starbucks and each shared our stories. We told her about our desire to have lots of children and that adoption was the avenue God told us to take. We liked her, actually we loved her. Seeing her bravery and selflessness to choose adoption was amazing.  Matt and I both felt that this was our next child. She is due in February and we are preparing our hearts and our home for this little miracle.

 Going through the adoption process is such an unpredictable ride, you never know whats going to be around the next corner and I am praying with all my heart that she doesn’t change her mind. But she might…and I have to be OK with that. I am trying to stay positive and trust God with the growth of our family but let me tell you it isn’t easy. But we do have HOPE because we have seen what God has done in the past, how he brought Lily to us. I am standing firm on his promise of providing for us, loving us, wanting the best for us, and his desire to give his children good gifts.

But then there is the waiting…I’ve heard about it but haven’t experienced it until now. There were long painful years where we waited for God to open the doors for us to pursue parenthood. Once we started the process, Lily came to us just a month later. There was no meeting a birth mom and waiting. No nine months of feeling anxious that she could call it all off at any moment.

– March 2017 –

Above is a post I was writing while we waited for the birth of our son. We prayed and hoped he would be ours but in the end the birth mom changed her mind. Our hearts hurt when we found out and we are still trying to work through all of the emotions and feelings that come with it.

The night we found out we were shocked and disappointed because we had heard from someone else in her town that she was no longer pregnant. She hadn’t told us she had given birth but was still receiving help. Immediately Proverbs 3:5-6 came to me and I began repeating it over and over in my head and my heart. It’s no coincidence it’s on the sign I had made for his room. God’s grace and his promise of “trusting in him with all our hearts” was giving us hope and life as we faced a messy situation with lots of unknowns.

As the days unfolded after we got this sad news the Holy Spirit gave me a gift and a reminder of something I had not thought about in a long time. Several years ago I worked at a retreat for post abortive women and men. It was a weekend where they got to grieve the loss of their aborted babies. That doesn’t sound heavy at all right?! I mean it was amazing and full of healing but also very draining and hard to watch others relive such pain. I’m telling you all of this because there was an exercise that we do on the first night where we drink from a cup that symbolizes Christ’s suffering. This principal of suffering is found throughout scripture but here a few verses that stand out to me.

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:13

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 2:18

Our suffering is nothing compared to what Jesus went through he was rejected, betrayed, and then killed. Although we didn’t go through rejection or betrayal to the degree that he did, we were suffering.

This was huge for me!! In all the years we were unable to have kids and suffering I never once had that perspective. I went through waves of emotion with God. I questioned him, argued with him, was mad at him and then I would see his purpose and plan through the waiting. Obviously I was all over the place in those years of waiting. But never once did I see what He was giving me in my suffering. This suffering has been a gift and I am so grateful for a Father who gives good gifts! It’s so weird to talk about suffering as a gift. Currently I am not sure how to put into words why I feel it is such a gift but I do. I know what scripture says about suffering and hardship and what it produces in our life. But I am trying to figure out what I feel about it. What does keep coming to me though is how God defies logic and what we think is a horrible situation and unfair or unjust he says no it’s actually a good thing.

For those of you who are struggling to grow your family and are confused, sad and upset, I am sorry and I know exactly how you feel. I’m sure everything I said is probably really annoying to you. I know when I was in the midst of our struggle to have kids I hated reading and hearing stuff like this. Allow yourself to grieve but don’t let bitterness take root in your heart. God is writing your story and it will be an AMAZING one!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Karina Aguirre
    July 23, 2017 / 5:56 am

    Ash- I love your story I love seeing how great of a mother you are to Lily. I am currently going through a very hard time I sometimes loose faith and get super bitter. I sometimes feel God has forgotten about me but then I snap back and realize that he loves me and that my time is not always his and I tell my self he has bigger plans for me. No one understands infertility and how it can be a a painful journey every month. I know you went through the route of adopting are you infertility? If so, can you share with us what helped how did you go pass that? I’m scared that every month of tears and bitterness may affect my marriage and I’m really just looking for words of advise. Thank you again for sharing your journey.

    • July 27, 2017 / 4:17 am

      Karina, Thank you so much for your comment and question. There were definitely seasons in our journey where I was bitter and felt forgotten just like you then God would gently remind me of his love. I had a great support system to help me stay on track and not let the bitterness take root. It is so difficult to see that negative pregnancy test every month and then feel hopeful that God has a plan and maybe next month will be THE month. I remember those days.
      Yes my husband and I are unable to conceive. We saw a fertility doctor and decided that any kind of treatment was not the route for us. So we waited a long time years actually and thought that one day I would take that miracle positive pregnancy test. That never happened. We always wanted to adopt but thought it would of been after we had several biological children. My husband and I always had conversations about what was happening and how I was mainly was feeling. It affected me much differently than him. I did see a counselor through a lot of the waiting years. It was so valuable for my emotional/spiritual health and also for our marriage. He wasn’t the main outlet for my processing and that was important.
      I shared a little of how we began the decision to adopt in Our Journey to Parenthood post but I basically thought I want to be mom and I don’t care how that happens. Matt’s heart was right on track with mine so the timing was perfect. All while this was happening Lily’s birth mom was pregnant!! Karina, I hope some of our experience helps you along this journey. Know that there are so many others that have and are walking this right along side of you. I am standing with you and believing God’s highest and best for your desire to grow your family.
      So much love
      Ash

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