Where Do I Go From Here?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It's taken me a few days to actually write this post, but I knew that I needed to get it out, because I'm lost, and at this point I just don't know what to do.

This past weekend, I was finally able to admit to myself that my infertility has severely impacted my faith in God.

I was raised in a moderately religious home (as in, my dad and stepmom themselves weren't particularly religious, but we went to church regularly for eight or nine years). I went to preschool at our church, and my siblings and I participated in VBS and other social activities within church groups. I was raised with the ideals that my stepmother thought a "proper" Christian should be: no sex before marriage (anything remotely sexual was bad...I wasn't even allowed to use tampons because they might make me comfortable with having something in my vagina and then I'd want to have sex); say your prayers every night (I legitimately believed that remembering to say my prayers in a precise order was the only way to prevent nightmares -- oddly, it just occurred to me a few weeks ago that I could just praqt without following the same prescribed formula I've been using for almost 25 years); and obey your parents in all things (this was definitely the hardest for me).

After we moved when I was 11, we never found another church, but when we would visit my grandparents (and after my dad and I moved in with them my sophomore year), I would go to my granny's church (a Church of God church where my great-uncle is the pastor). I liked going (fellowship was always my favorite part of church as a kid), but I never really felt too connected with it. I had long been interested in Catholicism (my great-great-grandmother, who I was named after, came from a Catholic family), and I attended Mass a few times while at boarding school, but I always felt like an outsider.

After I got kicked out of college, I started going to a charismatic church that my brother and sister had been attending. It was unlike anything I had ever known a church to be, but it quickly began to feel like home. Though I didn't necessarily agree with everything the church believed, I felt a deeper connection to God there than I ever have anywhere else.

Tom and I attended a (slightly less charismatic) church in the same denomination here in Lafayette for a few months a couple of years ago, but it just wasn't a good fit for us. Since then, the only church service I've attended was when my friend Katie completed her conversion to Judaism. However, I  pray often and worship privately, because I've never wanted to lose that connection to God.

Since then, I have definitely had a lot of internal conflict about things, but no matter what I was going through in life, I had faith that God knew what he was doing, even if it was making me crazy.

Even a couple months ago, it occurred to me that if I wasn't infertile, we wouldn't be trying to adopt from the foster care system right now, and we wouldn't be trying to adopt the little boys we've been waiting for. I have always been able to justify things and just believe that something better was ahead.

image from Thought Catalog

Until Saturday night.

As I lay on the couch in the fetal position in a  effort to minimize the effects of the pains I was feeling around my right ovary, I found myself lamenting the fact that even though I can't get pregnant, I still have horrible periods (and in the past year, terrible cramping), which seemed completely unfair to me. I get all the bad parts of the female reproductive system without the proudly functioning body.

It's like somebody giving out pieces of pie, but when it's your turn to get a piece, you just get pie crust with no filling (full disclosure: I don't really like pie crust).

I found myself wishing that I could be more like Job, who just took whatever awful stuff God dished out and remained faithful. Then it occurred to me that at one point, I had felt like Job, and I felt like I had his unwavering faith.

But I don't feel that way anymore.

I still believe in God, and I do still believe that He loves me, but for the life of me, I cannot understand why I have been put through so much pain for so long.

As a kid, I was always told that if I was obedient and good, I would be rewarded for it. And yes, I've made mistakes (who hasn't?), but I think that overall, I'm a generally good person. When I first realized I was infertile, I thought I was being punished for having premarital sex (we were engaged, but it was definitely premarital -- we were even trying to get pregnant a couple of months before the wedding); it bothered me for a long time, but eventually, I realized that was kind of ridiculous.

But when you're told that God will grant you the deepest desires of your heart, when years go by and you're still praying for a baby, and then praying to be able to not be jealous and resentful of your friends and family getting pregnant, and then praying to be able to make it through yet another pregnancy announcement without crying, you kind of start to wonder what you've done wrong.

Even when it looked like a finish line was in sight with our foster care journey, we've still been given a lot of run-around, and nobody is quite sure what's happening, and it kills me to see Tom so sad to see the boys' bedroom sitting empty when it's been ready for them for months and it's still going to be another month (at least) before we know anything more definite.

It hurts me so much to see him hurting like that, and it just doesn't make sense to me that after all this time, we still have to hurt like this. When are we ever going to catch a break?

And it's because of this that I feel so lost right now. I don't know what to think or what to believe, but I am so incredibly angry at God right now.

And I don't know what to do to fix that.

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  1. I know it's hard and my words may or may not help. I hope they do, but understand that everyone deals with things in their own way. I too was raised pretty strictly. My own feelings about God are just that, my own. I may be right, I might not be. I pretty much see God as creating the world and putting laws of science and what not that regulate what happens, etc biology, weather. Like if a tornado hits a town, I don't see it as God sending punishment, just that weather patterns work in certain ways. I don't see God as someone who sends people to murder others. I do see a combination of the the laws of how the world works and the freewill we're granted. BC of the combination, sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad. I'm not saying God never interferes, just that not everything that happens is because he ordained it. Again, this is just my belief. As much as I get frustrated with things not being "fair" I also realize, I'm happy that they're not fair, bc I fail in so many ways constantly.

    I can't completely empathize with the not being able to get pregnant situation as Adam and I have never tried. I may or may not be able to. At this age and weight, probably wouldn't be a smart idea even if I could. I do know that I feel the calling to be a mother. Even when we were dating, we discussed adoption. As you know, we started fostering about 4 years ago. Our first boys were with another family for about a year, went home 6 months, then ended up in the system again. We had them for 16 months and they went home like I was pretty sure they would. After about 10 months, the mother cut off contact with us and I worry and pray for them and her daily. Our current boys have been in the system for 2.5 years, the last 2 of which are with us and they were with four families before us. They've been legally free to be adopted since September 8th, but due to the system we're still waiting. It could be March, maybe June, who knows. It's hard. The system is broken. It's incredibly frustrating and even heartbreaking at times.

    Back to my original point, other religious people have told me that it's God's will for the boys to be with us. I don't believe that's true. I believe it's God's will for them to be with their parents, for their parents to be the kind of people who could have kept their children. I personally don't believe in a God that would want children to be in a position to have their children taken away. I do believe that I can do the best I can for the children since I am in this position and to do my best to try to help their parents too.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that although I believe in God and try to be the kind of person I should be, I try not to put blame on him when so much is based on nature and the freewill that He allows us to have. It helps keep me from feeling bitter and to have a perspective that gives me peace. I hope maybe it can help you too.

    Sending you all the mental hugs I possibly can and remember you have an ear anytime you need it.

    Carrie P

    1. Thanks Carrie 😃

      I've really been trying not to blame God for years now. I just happened to get the short end of the genetic stick; I'm hardly the first and I won't be the last. That's just how life works sometimes. And logically, I KNOW that it's not His fault, but I'm just struggling with being logical right now. It's just hard being brought up thinking one thing and having it constantly proven wrong. I don't know. I'm just too emotional for my own good sometimes.

  2. God is a God of love. He does not punish us. That being said, we often view the answer of 'no' to our prayers to be punishment, when in reality it's probably God saying 'now is not the right time for that' or 'that's not the plan I have for you'.
    We have our plans and what we think should happen, but we don't see the whole picture of our lives. God sees all, knows all, and wants to bless us beyond our wildest dreams! After all, we are his children.
    You have to remember that what we want right now may not be good for us right now. As I get older, I look back at my life -- the choices I made, the heartbreaks I've endured, and I'm so thankful that a lot of them did not work out!! After all, I wouldn't be who I am or have what I do if those things had worked out.
    For example: I don't know if you know this, but I was engaged before I met Todd. I had a boyfriend the summer before by freshman year of high school, we dated until I finished high school and he was in college. He asked me to marry him, and we were engaged for about a year and a half while we were both here at Purdue. When that ended, I was devastated! I was sure that God had abandoned me, and I was mad for a long time. Now I look back and I am eternally grateful that it did not work out!! I wouldn’t have met my other half – the peanut butter to my jelly, the cheese to my macaroni, the salt to my pepper – if that had worked out! Because I’m borderline facebook stalker…I know that that man (that I was engaged to) is now married, lives in Florida, and has no children of his own (married a woman who already had older children). That life would have never made me happy – clearly we weren’t headed in the same direction and God knew that.
    Faith is just that – it is Faith that God knows better than we do. It is the understanding that He sees more than we do, and realizing that the answer to our prayers isn’t always yes.
    Please read “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”. I own it if you want to borrow. It is a great book by Mitch Albom. It’s a very thought-provoking book about this very subject: why things happen when and how they do. It really made me think!
    Additionally, you have to remember that Faith is not logical – it is spiritual and emotional. I know you well enough to know that logical is your typical thought process. You are going to have to accept that not everything in the world is logical :0/ Suicide, Murder, Racism, Hatred – none of it is logical, all emotional…
    As always, I’m here to talk whenever you need to, and I love you very much!! :0x

  3. Jessica Goffinet GoekenJanuary 28, 2016 at 2:21 PM

    I'm so sorry you're struggling. Faith is so foundational that when it is shaken, it makes our entire world fall apart. I have a few Bible verses that may help. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, and are called according to his purpose." This is the one I think most people struggle with when times are hard, because doesn't this prove that God says things will be good? But it doesn't. It means that whatever the "things" are in our lives, God works them out in whatever way is best for us, but not necessarily what we want for ourselves. It also only applies to people that love God, and are doing His will. Another one is James 1:3, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." Whatever trials God allows to come into our lives (He does not punish, but He does use events and circumstances to lead us down the paths he wants us to follow), are for a specific purpose, with an intended destination in mind for us. Also, Isaiah 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." You can be sure that God is not using your infertility to punish you, but rather to work something in you that you may not even know about yet.

    None of this matters, however, if you have not received Him as your personal Savior. Attending church is not the same thing. I know you've spent some time in church, but you're the only one who knows whether or not you've made that personal decision. Some verses about this: 2 Corinthians 7:10, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation"; Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."; Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

    Knowing where you stand spiritually is tantamount to you finding peace. If you haven't made a personal decision with Christ, then your faith is shaken because it doesn't have a firm foundation to stand on. If you have, then its time to get into the Bible and claim the verses and the promises that God gives to His people.



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