I wish I could say that with all I have learnt so far, I handle the next phase with a more swiftly settling peace and acceptance than I do, but I’m a fighter and instead my heart and mind wrestle with the outcome and my understanding of God is warped again. The diagnosis is delivered. I am unsurprised by the consultant’s conclusions having come to my own, and yet still feel like I have been hit by a train as the wondering after all this time is finally confirmed.
My husband is pleased and relieved that his masculinity remains intact for it is my body that has let us down thus far. The bitterness sets in and festers as I brood that it would be me, of course. My husband excels at everything he does and I have always struggled with everything I turn my hand to. It makes sense that the despair and loneliness of one of us feeling a failure should be apportioned to me. It is impossible not to feel responsible and to blame. It is impossible not to smell the self-pity I have picked out of the dustbin and put back on again. These old, dirty rags stink.
My heart’s desire is held back by my body’s inability to work properly. I cannot fathom this. I wonder at the words of knowledge we have been given and whether they will ever come true. I ponder God’s decision to allow this, to have known this, from before I was born. Does he have a heart? So many babies born to women who did not want them or do not care and here I am craving a child with a useless body that cannot function without the possibility of medical intervention – or divine intervention – or both. And still more waiting, waiting, waiting.
God you have got to intervene I can’t do this without you they say they can help us with things that might work but you’re the only one who can put this right and I need you to put this right where’s my baby how long do I have to wait why me God why my body what if this doesn’t work and I’m barren for the rest of my life I feel so alone all over again why am I always so alone how could you have done this to me ………………….?
How do I choose not to let this definition define me now? How do I rise above it and claim the authority of God over the fear of man’s prognosis? How do I ignore the words that categorise me and believe that He can totally do this, that He’s the King of the Impossible? How do I choose to see Him for what He is not what Satan would trick me into believing He is? How do I remind myself that I am seen, known, chosen, loved, valued, redeemed in the face of this heartbreak?
The hope flame must keep burning. Divine hope knows no limitations. I must dig deeper to find this treasure in the darkness. The landscape seems to be bleaker still and I am not sure where it is hidden at this time. I must be disciplined and train my thoughts to the beat of His timing. I must not come undone over circumstances that do not faze heaven.
I see now that the battle continues to be one that takes place inside my mind. A fight of faith. A fight to believe what God speaks over me and what I choose to allow my mind to focus on. In this fresh disappointment I find I have run out of words for Him again and have to borrow the words of others. I play worship songs; I sing hymns to Him in the morning; and within twenty-four hours of this diagnosis I am in the presence of ladies I trust to intercede on my behalf. These are women who I know will speak words that I wouldn’t choose to speak and who will declare over me what is on God’s heart whether I like the truth or not. My mouth is dry but their words issue forth new healing for the hurts and fresh hope for the way ahead: “Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you”.[i] I ask for forgiveness for the anger. I name the disappointments one by one. I lay to rest the bitterness. And I invite joy, peace, hope and faith back to my table.
It is impossible to fight thoughts with thoughts. Instead we must declare aloud the truth of God’s word for their boldness and certainty send our muddled thoughts skittering. I hear His voice in mine as I say aloud what His word has decreed. I will repeat His promises afresh until my mind has memorised them and my heart believes them. I will choose to rise up in this dark place. He knew about this season before I did and what He says is what I will follow.
I am reminded of the story of the blind man that Jesus heals[ii]. The disciples ask Jesus whether it was the man or his parents whose sin has led to the man’s blindness. Jesus’ response is this: “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins. This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us”[iii]. As I ponder this response I recall God’s nature and I see my own blindness and how the Enemy has tried to deceive me. God is my resource in this time of pain not the source of it. I know I wasn’t made this way because of sin or punishment or because the creator of the Universe was having an “off” day when He made me. Perhaps instead then this time of disappointment and pain will culminate in the revelation of God’s power in our lives and give Him glory. My heart finds comfort in these thoughts. A life which seeks to be part of His story, not Him in my story. A marker in the sand which constantly signposts to heaven.
I remind myself of who I am in Christ. I remind myself of the women who have gone before me and the example they have set for me in greater trials than these. I remind myself that I am not a victim. I remind myself that I walk hand in hand with the One who knows me best – this is not a journey walked alone. I rise up to stand firm in the face of further tests and hospital appointments, of tablets, pessaries and procedures which rob me of my dignity. I choose hope not despair again.
[i] Zechariah 9:12
[ii] John 9
[iii] John 9:3-4