December of 2011 rolled around and the reality that there may be something wrong was settling in. Why weren’t we getting pregnant? I was stressed over the whole situation and afraid to face what it meant if there really was a problem. Still I tried to hold on to hope and the fact that God was in control and I needed to trust His timing. Maybe it was simply just a timing thing.
It was a church night like any other. After service our dear friends said they had something to share with us. Their faces were beaming with excitement! My curiosity was peaked as they gathered us and other close friends into a corner. Everyone seemed full of anticipation. It was fun being included. What was the big news? They pulled out their iPad and pressed play. It was a video of an ultrasound and the sound of a beating heart met our ears. They were expecting! They were overjoyed as they began sharing all the details! I will never forget the look on their faces – pure happiness!
But…for the first time ever…I felt a sting in my heart. I looked over at my husband, our eyes met, and I could see he felt it too. We both knew we would have to be courageous and push through and we quickly shook it off and gave our sincere congratulations! We were happy for our dear friends! We knew what a gift this truly was.
Afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel guilty as I wrestled with these nagging feelings in my heart. I was so disappointed in myself. What was wrong with me?! I knew I shouldn’t envy but my mind and heart were filled with questions. Why not us? Why couldn’t we receive this blessing too? After guilt came condemnation. “You are a small person, Fiona! All you’re thinking about is yourself, instead of celebrating with your friends! You are so selfish! Not to mention your lack of faith! You say you trust God but you’re not even acting like you do!” I felt ashamed and smaller than an atom that day. I wanted to be a “bigger person” than that. I thought I was a “bigger person”! What was I going to do?
Somehow, in that moment, I started to believe that if you had feelings that were opposite your faith it was distrust in God. I thought that if I felt grief or frustration over our situation that it meant I didn’t trust God enough. So I told myself I needed to toughen up! I needed to be the “bigger person”. I put on a mask. A happy face one. And denial began to trickle in. I disregarded my feelings for the sake of “maintaining” my faith thinking it was the right thing to do.
At this point we had told no one about our struggles. And I wanted to keep it that way. It was safer of course! You see I had faced circumstances in my life that had caused me to have major trust issues. Whenever I was hurting, I learned how to deal with it on my own, silently, just me and God. I was used to isolation. I thought that if people wanted to get close to you it was because they wanted something from you. And in my weak moments I didn’t have anything to give. So isolation seemed like the best option.
I also felt this need to maintain my image. I was a leader in the church and I didn’t want others to think poorly of me or be disappointed in me. I wanted to be a good Godly example even in the midst of a trial. I thought by putting on a happy face even when it hurt, I was being the “good example” God wanted me to be.
It’s funny how God works. He has such a gentle way of guiding our hearts to the right path. And now enters another one of my dearest friends! Every time I was around her I found myself sharing my vulnerabilities with her. To be honest it scared me. My vulnerabilities were under lock and key. I couldn’t just be throwing them out there! But it was difficult to wear a mask around her. She just had this way about her and somehow she felt safe.
I remember reluctantly confiding in her about our infertility struggles. It was getting to be too much for me to deal with on my own and I just needed a listening ear. As I shared, she said she had wondered if we were having struggles because she saw Phil and I exchange glances when our friends shared their pregnancy news. You can imagine my shock! I thought I had played that off pretty well! I may have, but God had now put someone in my life who could see through my fronts. Although it kind of freaked me out, this was the beginning of another beautiful friendship! A friendship where, again, I could just be me.
Looking back on all this, I see how the enemy was at work, trying to weave lies into my heart and belief system. I almost fell for it too had it not been for the tender leading of The Lord! I now see that faith is taking your feelings to God, acknowledging and dealing with them, and still hanging on to hope even when you can’t see how things will work out! After all, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!