March 18, 2011


Sometimes I lose perspective. Am I the only one?
Sometimes I look around at my life and all I see is what’s missing. I spend so much time pining for my hopes and wishes that I lose touch with my reality and its beauty. Sometimes all that I have, all that I am, all that I have been blessed with seems to matter not in the perceived emptiness left by the things I don’t have, the things that I am not, and the blessings that have not been bestowed upon me. It is a personal moment of discontent, of ingratitude, of amnesia.
One such moment happened last week…
A month or so ago, by medical advice, we started the process of doing a fertility procedure we had done unsuccessfully a couple of times before adoption. This time it was not just unsuccessful. It went horribly wrong. After a round of hormones injected to my body, a failure of a cycle, an MRI of my brain, being called a “medical mystery” and several hundred dollars later, we ended up not doing the procedure…by medical advice. And we clearly heard from God: no more. It was frustrating and expensive and disappointing. And confusing
 It has been more than five years since we last dealt with our infertility. We had made peace with God’s plans for building our family, closed the door to that chapter of our life, and we are happily parenting two amazing children given to us through adoption. So I was not prepared for the feelings I thought buried deep inside that this situation brought back to the surface.
I don’t want/desire/need/hope for a biological child any longer. It is not DNA that makes a family. My children made me a mom and adoption is a familiar, well-known and beloved friend in our household. We know this was God’s plan for all four of us.
But we were created to procreate and there is an instinctual desire to co-create life with God that is hard for me to shake. It is not the end result I seek. It is the common bond of a shared experience with millions of women from the beginning of time. Pregnancy is something unattainable and mysterious to me and it is something my body prepares for month after month, and month after month it un-does the preparations, never allowing me to forget.
So I despaired. And I got angry. And I cried out to God. And I did all the things I did so many years ago when the treatments did not work, forgetting completely all over again that I don’t see the whole picture, that even as I was crying out all those years ago, He was already working, that I live daily with two reminders that He is faithful and He is the same God who spoke to Jeremiah in the 29th chapter and the 11th verse.
And last week during a prayer time I said to God in all seriousness and pain.
“Lord, my womb is empty!”
And God, in his mercy and compassion, gently replied,
“But your arms are full…”
And his words convicted me of my amnesia. My life is full! And my eyes seemed to open to all that I had been forgetting while my spirit clamored for the one thing I don’t have. The one thing.
My arms are full of little arms, feet, smiles, growing bodies always in motion.
My bed is full of a godly man who loves me passionately.
My home is full of laughter and life.
My heart is full of Christ.
My calendar is full of friends.
My brain is full of thoughts and ideas.
My past is full of experiences, my present is full of happiness, my future is full of possibilities.
My body is full of health and energy.
My wallet is full of just enough of the world’s resources to be comfortable.
My car is full of gas.
My refrigerator is full of daily bread.
My bookshelves are full of help.
Shall I go on? My life is full even while my womb is empty.

There may be other children someday. But that is not my concern right now. My tomorrow is God's concern. He is calling me to be here, in the moment, to be all that He is asking me to be to those whom I can enclose in my arms today. To live my full life and be thankful. 

I don’t want to spend my life with my eyes so fixed on what is missing that I fail to enjoy what is there. The flesh-and-blood, tangible, love-giving, care-needing, real blessings that fill my cup today. 


Katie said...

Gaby- I am sorry you had to experience that pain all over again. As I was reading through this post, I could relate in many ways. And just like you, though I know with all of my heart that adoption is God's plan for us, it is instinct for me to be tempted to slide back down in that pit whenever I am faced with that monthly reminder that my body has failed to become pregnant. You have been a sort of source of guidance and wisdom for me through this, as you have once walked where we are walking now. I appreciate your transparency and for sharing you heart.

Bird said...

What an incredible revelation. And who among us doesnt have to be reminded every now and then?? I want to thank you so much for sharing that. I feel like that went from gods lips to your blog to my heart!!! Thank you.

Unknown said...

I only know to some extent what you and Matt have been through, and it is incredible to watch the two of you. You are so in unison with God and with each other...Eric and I strive to be like that every single day. I am so sorry for the repeated heartache you have experienced, but so so so thankful for the peace God has given you. You are an amazing mother. And friend. And wife. And the list goes on!

Gaby said...

Katie, thank you for your kind words. Watching you has been exciting to me because you and your husband remind me of Matt and I back when, and I can't wait to see what God has planned for you.

Wonder Woman, thank you for stopping by! I am so glad to hear that God spoke to you through this story. I believe we are meant to share our burdens so they are more bearable.

Heather, my sweet friend, don't be sorry. Pain comes and pain goes but the lessons we learn about who God is remain. You are MY inspiration!

Deborah said...

I'm sorry to hear you were dealing with this procedure - it sounds very stressful from a health perspective as well as an emotional one. I've been thinking of writing a post along these lines, too, about all the reasons I'm lucky. Sometimes just writing it all down can really change your mood.

Michelle DeRusha said...

An incredibly convicting post, Gaby -- and a hope-inspired one. You have been through so much pain, but in telling your story honestly, you are healed...and you heal others. Thank you for that gift.

Gaby said...

Thank you, Michelle!

Jennifer said...

Gaby, you gave me chills. Your womb is empty, but your arms are full--what powerful words! I'm so sorry that you had to deal with all of those feelings and pain again. And while I cannot related to your specific struggle, your post touched me just the same. I think most of us can relate to feeling like something is missing only to have God gently nudge us, reminding us how full we are, too.

Just beautiful, Gaby.

Gaby said...

Thank you, Jennifer!

Angela said...

I ditto Michelle's comment...other than that i'm speechless. great read for me today, thanks for sharing. i am so sorry for what you've had to walk through this time, thankful for your ears to hear his voice in the midst.