Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Loudest Cry Discovered

I realized something important, this week.

My self-torturing agony over not being able to birth a baby had less to do with the empty hole in my heart and more to do with the abandonment I felt from God. I did want a baby. More than anything in this world, but even more I wanted God to answer my cries.

For a year straight I pounded on the doors of heaven, laid open my heart on the threshing floor, and all but tore my garments at his alter, asking for answers. My efforts, however, were always met with silence.

It wasn't that God was not present. Occassionally I would hear a whispered word to my heart - grace or an encouraging phrase - keep pushing through. But never did I get an answer. It didn't even have to be my answer of a promised child. Just an answer would have done - motherhood isn't for you...I have other plans...your desires will be fulfilled. Anything would have been better than nothing.

Exactly 12 months ago, I was at my worst. I was a shell of a person. There was no fight left. All hope was gone. I had finally admitted defeat.

And for the first time in my left, felt abandoned by God.

Earlier this week, I spoke with a friend and as I listened to her words my heart was warped into past stages of remembering. Her situation was a completely different shade, but I still found myself in her words. She spoke with brokeness, as she desperately grasped for any sliver of hope to hold on to. I cried with her and offered the most encouraging words I could muster and then wept my entire way home.

I hope to never return to that state of hollowness, but for the sake of my friend, I allowed the memories to flood back. Ben and I sat face to face, on the couch, as I reviewed the earlier conversation. Tears were streaming from my face as I said. Do you remember that silence? When the cry for family was deafening and the voice of God was absent? It was complete abandonment.

Ben didn't have to answer, his matched tears did the talking. We both remember.

We did not go into infertility with a just-on-Sunday relationship with God. We were his. We were captives to his love and served him faithfully in everything we did. We were the holy-roll'n, tongue-speaking, passionately-exuberant type. And then he stopped speaking.

I don't know why. I have ideas and guesses and theories, but there's no definitive answer. Our faith was literally stripped down to nothing, as our exposed hearts walked out the last few months before Rebekah's call, faithless.

Naturally, it's easy to look back now and see that God did have a plan and never stopped being faithful, but the wreckage that our hearts took was massive. I believe that our hearts are healed and that God's grace washed us for months leading up to Ty's birth.

Last year was a whirlwind of emotion and today, I find myself asking, "Lord, where does all of this leave us, now (as in you and me)?"

Everything looks different as a mother and now that things have settled, I find myself yearning to reconnect to my Savior, in pre-infertility ways.

After our little abandonment cry-fest, it was clear to me that the winning culprit of my heart's loudest cry was not that of a baby, it was the absence of the God I claimed to know so well. The Bible-thumpers would tell me he was never absent, but that's not what I mean. His silence was absence and I'm not sure I've been ready to dive back into that investigation.

Until now.

I don't need to know why I can't have babies (it doesn't matter), but I do need to know why I never heard God answer. I've been admittedly too pre-occupied to revisit the issue and ashamedly haven't read my Bible in months, but I'm ready now.

The next time I weep with a friend I want to be able to share the full spectrum of revolution my heart took, so that others might be encouraged.

20 comments:

  1. (((hugs))) Rebekah. That pit, that desperate, breaking feeling that you are totally alone, and that even God has foresaken you, is not unfamiliar to me. I'm sure many of your readers will be nodding their heads in agreement as they read this post.

    I have had times where I have found it tough to "trust" in God again. But it seemed to me that your faith remained strong and unwaivering. Even when the silence is deafening. God sees our struggles, I believe that even when we are struggliing with him, He understands and forgives.

    God never stops loving us for one second, even when we feel that love has disappeared.

    God knows your heart...He knew that you would find your way back to Him. :)

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  2. I would have to say that right at this exact moment I am where you were last year...faithless, confused, anxious, sad.....I sit wondering and asking WHY...what have we done wrong...please give me an answer and like you I never get one....I might here be paitent child...keep fighting...but never a real answer....

    I hope you reconnect....not because you need answer just because life is so much brighter when God is fully present in your heart......I hope I get there too....

    m

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  3. What a beautiful post...thank you for always sharing the deepest parts of your heart with us

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  4. I often fight those memories...the horrible silence, the heart breaking circumstances. I spent years wondering if God would have me be miserable for the rest of my life. It was the most horrible time of my life. Then the sun broke through and my wonderful children came to me. What an amazing miracle! But you know, I have friends who are still waiting on their miracles. I have a friend who is 60 years old and her heart stil breaks every day that she was never able to have children. How do we handle those situations? How do we bring comfort to those who have spent their entire lives longing for something that they never got? Not just with children, but with marriage too. They have prayed and begged that God take the desire away. But God has remained silent in their lives for years and years. I can't claim to know the heart of God...and I will never be able to understand why things happen the way they do. It's not fair. I know that God didn't promise fair, but it's really hard to grasp.

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  5. I found my way to your blog today and just wanted to say I was blessed by your story and thoughts today. I'm sure I will spend some time reading your whole story, but infertility is a hard road, isn't it?

    My husband and I are currently waiting to be matched to a birthmother. The waiting is the hardest part!

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  6. "My friend speaks my mind" as we used to say in college... Thank you for sharing your heart and your feelings were my feelings a few short years ago, and although I still grieve my emptiness in my heart to carry a child, the emptiness is slowing being filled with the reminder of God's everlasting love and every time Aliya says "mommy" I am reminded of HIS plan!

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  7. Your post really spoke to me. I am feeling completely abandoned by Him right now. I feel silence. Even worse, I feel like He has kicked me in the back of my knees and allowed me to go back to that place again. I don't understand.

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  8. your words are so comforting and healing. I admire your compassion, It inspires me to open my heart more and allow myself to hurt with others that hurt. I have sat back and watched the way u have loved Becky and to be honest with u I didn't think it would last. I figured u would fade away after receiving your son (which u had every right to do) but your love shines brighter today than it did in the beginning and your honesty in friendship proves deeper thru each blog post. You have shown me that this type of love, compassion and concern is real and attainable. You and Ben are classy people and I'm so happy to see my little cousin grow up under such a covering as yours.
    Cindie

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  9. i think you will get your answers as you strive to reconnect, im not a bible scholar but the phrase, 'why has thou forsaken me?!' comes to mind, His voice was absent but He was not gone when christ 'needed' Him the most.

    do you read therhouse.blogspot.com? she has lots of inspiring thoughts on her infertility and her struggles, she is an adoption warrior!

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  10. I hear ya. it is so easy to get busy after God has blesses us with exactly what we want. we forget to dive into the Bible as we should. here we spent all this time trying to figure out what HE wanted us to do, and now that we are basking in the joy/busyness of it we loose touch.

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  11. your words are always so beautiful. thank you for sharing.

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  12. I can't even begin to imagine what you went through- but I can tell you that God did answer you- just on His time. And I do know that waiting on God's time can be very difficult. I am glad you are going on this rediscovery journey.

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  13. i'm really looking forward to your continued thoughts as you unpack those feelings of abandonment.

    i'm certain it could be your second book pitch when (because you will!) you figure it out!

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  14. Hi Rebekah,
    I was watching MTV's Teen Mom show the other day. There is a young couple that chose an open adoption. They are having a hard time at how "open" their adoption is. Such as they do not know the last name of the couple and so on. Have you seen it and do you have any feelings on their situation.

    Long time reader..

    Samantha

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  15. I know there are so many readers who can concur with the isolation and abandonment. My husband and I have been trying/praying for a family since Easter of 2000, and the silence from God can be unbearable. We try to grab every thread of happiness between the tears. After years of looking for "signs" you began to wonder if they are from God, or the devil who tempts you and then laughs at your excitedness. Bottom line, we just all need to pray for each other. And pray that God will "remember" us. The bible states "God remembered Rachel, and he opened her womb."

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  16. Thank you for your continued honesty. I have been reading your blog for almost a year and on days when I haven't been able to put words to my struggle with infertility your words have often described it exactly. I also appreciate your honesty in still searching for answers even now that you have Ty. As my husband and I begin the adoption process, many of our friends and family don't understand why there are days I still struggle for answers. Thank you!

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  17. I feel like I am still learning what God was using my experience with infertility in my life for when he did. He humbles me daily and I find through my studies that I can see reflections of my heart through those of other biblical figures, especially the story of David and Saul. I have been working through Beth Moore's study on David and I love her take on God's silence. I believe that God uses silence to teach us more about ourselves and maybe in an attempt to help us see that there are often bits of unresolved business between ourselves and HIM which need to be addressed before He is ready to answer our cries about something else.

    I think you are amazing and so kind and your story is a testament to God's faithfulness and perfect will. I pray that your issues will be resolved and that you will have the courage and peace to work through them and become whole again.
    *hugs*

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  18. Rebekah,

    While I don't have anything insightful to offer, I'd like to encourage you to look at the book of Job to maybe help you find an answer.

    I feel that the Bible is a personal experience for everyone and what each person takes or interprets from their stories is God speaking to their hearts and giving them the answers that THEY personally need. The answers I need may not be the same as yours and vice versa. With that said, I won't go into my personal opinions about the story of Job, but I do find that there are a lot of parallels between your stories. As I was reading it tonight, the idea of Job crying out to God time and time again kept resounding in my head and I immediately thought it was something I should pass on to you. Hope this helps!

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  19. Rebekah,

    I have been following your blog forever (it seems). I can't remember how I got here, but you’re beautiful, heart wrenching story always brought me back again and again. Mainly because I had felt the devastation of infertility and then seen in my own life the wonderful workings of God's glory. Maybe not as I had envisioned, but as He had planned. This post really got to me. I’ve been thinking about it and you for several weeks, unable to get it off my mind and heart. I need to state that I am not overly religious. I never seem to get my daily devotionals in, I surely can’t quote the bible and when I get to a church service my preacher is sure to point out how long it’s been, but I have to say that it seems everything I have read or heard in the last week has been in regards to your post. Almost scary..lol.

    A couple of verses just keep going through my head. ”Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and “Give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The first I actually got. It came to me years ago when pondering about His silence in my own moments of heartache. Personally, I felt desolate from His Spirit and totally lost in the silence. After I had went through my rough times I started to wonder where was he in my greatest time of need? And then I realized (in my own little humble way) that God wants us to experience the quite. After the “heart cries” and in our greatest time of need, he just wants us to be still and know that He is the only one that can make it better. He wants us to find solace in the silence and to know that you can’t enjoy his wonderful blessings without sometimes experiencing the loss. Can we really experience and appreciate true joy without ever feeling the pain?

    This leads me to the second verse, give thanks in everything. I had a hard time with this. How can you truly give thanks while you suffer? I read this the other day (another story on where I just happen to read this), “Notice that the Scripture says to “give thanks in everything,” not for everything. Obviously, not everything that happens in the world or to us is good. But God is always good, and we can always be thankful for the fact that He is working all things together for good (I truly have to believe for you that was Ty). “I personally think that we are not always going to like our circumstances in life, however, but by faith, choose to give thanks anyway. Even in the silence.

    Wow, sorry, didn’t mean to write a book. I’ll leave that to you and say that I’ll be first in line to buy it. My story is totally different than yours, but at times are pain and wanting was the same. I pray for you and Ty and Ben. Your family story is just beginning. There is a lot more to come.

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