We are back this month on Inspire Me Monday talking about the Give Grace campaign. We have had such an overwhelming response and we want to keep the momentum going. For those of you that are new to the blog, you can read my full story here and the vision behind the campaign here.
This month we are going to be answering some tough questions regarding infertility. So many women struggle with this, often in silence, and I feel very burdened to help people know how to love someone well through it. I have had a lot of women reach out to me to ask really good questions about how to handle things so I want to share. But first and foremost, I am kicking things off today talking directly to those in the heat of the battle.
I am not speaking from the other side of this journey. My husband and I are in the thick of it now. We have been wading through this stormy season for almost 3 years now. I know it's easy to write women off who try to encourage you from the other side. I get it. It's so easy to type an email or a text of encouragement as you are holding your child. So let me tell you, that is not where I am coming from.
The past month has been a whirlwind of busy for me but in the moments of quiet - just me and Jesus - I keep feeling this tug on my heart to speak directly to you. To every single one of you that are in the midst of the battle. First I want to say, it's ok to cry. You are not crazy for feeling sad. You are not crazy for wanting to avoid baby showers because every one in the room is staring at you to see how you respond. You are not crazy for breaking down in tears when friend after friend shares their news of pregnancy with you. You are not crazy for feeling this hole in your heart that only a baby can fill. God created you exactly the way that you are and He loves you more fully than you can even comprehend. You are not broken. You are loved and sought after. Give yourself some grace in your moments of weakness. Let yourself cry. Then, pray that God will give you the strength to pick yourself back up and press on. Here's a promise that has helped carry me in these moments: "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31. I know there are days that you feel so tired - emotionally, physically, spiritually. Look to the only One that can fill you up.
Secondly, you are not alone. I am a big believer in community. If we are going to endure this struggle well, we cannot do it alone. If you haven't shared your struggle with anyone other than your husband, I challenge you this week to find someone you can talk to about it. Someone that will not make you feel guilty for having these feelings of sadness and loss. Someone who will diligently pray for you. Someone that will lift you up with words and verses of encouragement. You need a cheerleader rooted in truth during this time to help carry you. That is what the body of Christ is for. As Godly women, we are called to hold each other up in prayer. So find someone that will pray for you and also find someone you can pray for. During this time, you need to surround yourself with people who are grounded in Biblical truth and people that will push you toward Jesus over and over again. Don't allow yourself to be around people that bring you down. People that try to make you feel guilty for feeling sad. People who are too consumed with themselves to be able to comprehend one ounce of the pain you are going through. It's ok to walk away from these people because they constantly bring you down. Pray for them. Love them from afar. But don't carry the burden of feeling like you have to keep them close.
We may not be able to control our circumstances in life but we can control how we respond to them. This battle is so so so tough. Trust me, I get it. But don't let it consume you. You have a choice in how you are going to respond when someone says something very inconsiderate to you. You have a choice in how you will love your spouse through this. You have a choice in how you treat others who are blessed with babies. Choose grace. Do not let your circumstances define you. You can choose joy or you can choose to let the feelings of bitterness, sadness, jealousy and longing make you incredibly miserable. If you choose bitterness, your relationships will suffer and so will you. Let me tell you something... God's goodness, faithfulness, love, mercy, grace and sovereignty are not dictated by our circumstances. He does not change. He is steadfast in his love and pursuit of us, even in the midst of struggles. Use your story and your struggle to tell people about Jesus. Show people by the way you respond that God is still sitting on His throne and even though He has allowed us to go through this, He is still good. Now that is a powerful testimony! That doesn't mean you can't cry or be sad. But you have to get back up and keep moving forward. He will carry you through, every step of the way. "I'll make it because He carries me." Deuteronomy 1:31
Don't let infertility ruin your marriage. You promised for better or for worse. This may be for worse so this is the time to live out your vows in a powerful way. Choose to love your spouse daily. Serve him. Tell him why you love him. Lift him up. Because words have power. When attacks like this are thrown at you, most days feel like sink or swim. And when you are constantly battling negative emotions it is so easy to let yourself take it out on your spouse. I have done it more times than I want to admit. You are just drained. So you take it out on the person you are the closest to. But don't. Choose to love him in a greater way than you ever have before. Because you need each other more now than ever.
One of the things that has helped me the most during my journey is to be intentional about stepping outside of myself to serve others. Sometimes your struggle can seem all consuming. It can seem like the worst thing in the entire world. Like no one else could possibly endure what you are going through. Until you spend some time serving in a very low income area, or the oncology floor of the hospital. Things like that will really put life into perspective for you. It doesn't take the pain away but the more you expose yourself to other battles people are facing, the more joyful and grateful you become for yours. Or at least that is what I have experienced. There are always things in your life you can and should be grateful for. And the more you can focus on those things, the more grateful your heart becomes.
I hope this doesn't come across like I have everything together. Because trust me, I don't. I am the first person to admit when I do things wrong. But throughout our struggle, all of these things are the areas that both Blake and I strive to grow in and are important principles that we believe in with all of our hearts. Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you are shining your light for Jesus. Just because you are facing a really really tough battle, it doesn't give you an excuse to blow your candle out and give up. This is the time that people are watching more than ever. So, shine your light bright. Blind people with Jesus. Show them why now more than ever that He is faithful in the tough times. And without a shadow of doubt, never give up hoping and praying for your miracle, no matter what that looks like. Because let me tell you, He is able. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." Ephesians 3:20. Write this verse down and put it on your bathroom mirror. Put it everywhere that you look daily. It is such a vital reminder that no matter what odds are stacked against you in this earthly body, He is able to do immeasurably more than you ever dreamed possible. Hold your heads up high, sisters. Keep fighting the fight. Wear this battle with pride and confidence that He allowed YOU to go through this. Not your friend or your sister or your cousin. He chose YOU. For a reason. So as crazy as that sounds, walk with pride through the journey because I think we all know that not everyone is cut out for this struggle.
I want to hear your #GiveGrace stories. How has this campaign touched you? How has your necklace, print or shirt allowed you to share the message of God's grace? I want to hear! I will be sharing Give Grace stories on the blog this month so make sure to send yours in. firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you all have the most blessed week!!