Unhappy New Year
What do you do when you get to December 31st…..look back over the year…..and feel completely and utterly discouraged? What if your new year is anything BUT happy?
I have someone very dear and near to my heart who is going through infertility right now and it absolutely breaks my heart! As another year comes and goes without a baby – I watch her cry, hurt, and ask the very questions I used to ask. My heart aches for her and her husband. Despite the fact that I am on the other side of my infertility journey, my mind easily recalls the pain and anguish of New Year’s.
Several years ago, on New Year’s Eve….
My husband actually cancelled the youth lock-in at church (to a bunch of teenager’s dismay) and we spent New Year’s in Virginia with our family. My dad (who happens to be a New Year’s baby) is a pastor and he was leading a New Year’s Eve prayer service. This is the church my husband was born and raised in, so when we arrived, there were the usual hugs, greetings, and catch up conversations. As midnight began to approach we gathered in a circle to pray in the new year.
One by one, each person in the circle prayed thanking God for His many blessings throughout the year.
Like a ticking clock I felt my turn approaching….and my mind was racing. I listened to each of these prayers…and I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world I was going to pray.
I wasn’t thankful for my year AT ALL.
All my mind could think about was how once again….I wasn’t pregnant. Despite the fact that I had prayed and prayed and prayed….there I stood once again…empty handed. Another new year without a baby. Yay me.
Every new year, I prayed the same prayer to no avail…so would I dare to pray it again?
Before I knew it, I felt the person beside me squeeze my clammy hand…..it was my turn.
I tried to pray, but through my quivering lips, nothing came out. My ears started to burn and a lump formed in my throat, as I struggled to surpress the emotions welling up inside of me. The whole circle was waiting for me to pray….and yet I couldn’t think of one thing to say. ONE THING!
And then…my friends…. Right there in the midst of people I hadn’t been with since I was in high school…..people who really had no clue what I was going through…..I broke down. Yall, I mean like ugly crying!
Finally, after what seemed like forever (I’m pretty sure it was only a minute or two), I managed to somewhat catch my breath. Then, through the waterworks….with my shoulder still shaking and a knot in my stomach….I sobbed something that resembled a prayer. I basically just said that I didn’t know what to pray. That I didn’t understand. That I was sad, angry, and so beyond disappointed. And then I simply let God know that I loved Him and that I would try to keep trusting that there was some kind plan.
Why the New Year Can be Hard
Although New Year’s can be a time to celebrate, it can also be surprisingly hard. Especially when you are in the midst of a personal struggle, like infertility.
New Years is all about looking back over the year.
On Instagram, people put their best 9 pictures. – My 9 pictures for Instagram would have been of shots, tears, ultrasounds, blood tests, medicine, tears, miscarriages, counseling, tears….and did I mention tears?
Facebook sends you a video of your highlights. – The only highlight of my year was actually going to bed without crying myself to sleep.
The Today Show (and every other show) goes back over their top favorite stories. – There wasn’t a top favorite anything. When I looked back over my year…all I saw was disappointment…..sadness….loss.
New Years is also a time of anticipation.
A time to set goals; time to create resolutions; a time to dream.
But my dreams had been shattered with miscarriages and infertility. Each year I would pray that THIS would be the year I would have a baby. Then the year would come and go…
So when December 31st rolled around, it was just yet another reminder that it didn’t happen. And looking forward to another year of praying this same prayer eventually just became discouraging. New Years for me began to feel like the movie Groundhog Day.
Each and every New Year’s, I would pray a similar prayer:
Happy New Year! Wow. I never imagined this would be how my life would be at this point. This is the 3rd new year that I pray and hope will be the year I have a baby. This has been a LOOONNNNNG and bumpy road. And unfortunately there really isn’t an end in sight. I am beginning to wonder if I am EVER going to have a baby.
Please dear Lord, hear my prayer. I am pleading with You! If there is any room in Your will, please allow me to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. I have been so patient. Lord, You have gotten me though some tough times. Father please! I’ve never wanted anything more! Please God! Guide Brandon and I as we make decisions. Lead us along Your path of righteousness. Show us Your will. I ask this in Jesus’ holy name. I love You! Amen.
(from my journal…written on January 1, 2012)
3 Questions for a New Perspective
Reading through my old journals, I found an entry that caught my eye. It was about a Sunday school lesson I was getting ready to teach about how God uses suffering to refine us. The raw emotions I was experiencing were all recorded right on the page.
So tomorrow’s lesson is about “remaining confident during difficult times”. How funny! This past year has been the most difficult year of my entire life. Losing 3 pregnancies; going through fertility treatments (that involve my husband giving me shots); having a difficult class; having a “full plate”; and watching 16 (yes I counted) people get pregnant and have babies. It has been a rough patch. And to top it ALL off…in 2 weeks it will be a year since losing my first baby. (March 2011)
Needless to say, I vividly remember possibly “calling in sick” instead of teaching this lesson. But there were three questions included in this specific lesson that really helped give me perspective and I feel like the Lord wants me to share that with you. So here are the questions along with the answers I wrote down.
What have I learned through my struggle?
- I’m tougher than I thought I was.
- Life is a true miracle. It is a precious thing that I have often taken for granted. The fact that babies are conceived and born healthily, is God at work.
- I want children worse than I thought I did.
- I cannot control everything (as much as I want to).
- It is OK to hurt, it is OK not to have everything figured out.
- HOPE is only found in the Lord.
- Forget MY plan!
- Life is NOT fair.
- Consider all trials joy. (There may have been a bit of an attitude of sarcasm when I wrote this one.)
- It may seem bad, but it could be worse…
What have I discovered about God?
- He is the ONLY thing that keeps me going on. He is my rock.
- God’s plans are definitely NOT my plans
- He is in control (as frustrating as that may be) – He has a plan
- God makes Himself evident through the people He places in your life.
- Life is God’s masterpiece – He can give and take away.
- God can speak – through the radio, others, His word, and in a still small voice.
- The difference between discipline and trials
- God is a loving God – NOT a mean God
What can I be thankful for through all of this?
- My relationship with Christ – the spiritual foundation that was set in place
- My family – their prayers and support
- The fact that I CAN get pregnant is a blessing in and of itself
- My husband, Brandon – he has been with me through it ALL; his support, encouragement, listening ear, and his love
- Church family – cards, prayers, encouragement
- Friends God has placed in my life
- I may not have a baby – but I am blessed in SO many ways!
- My doctors – the knowledge and talent God blessed them with
- Medical expenses being covered
- The doctors feel that what I have is treatable
- I’ve learned more about Brandon and we’ve learned more about our marriage
- I’ve learned more about myself and my relationship with God
What about you?
Is this New Year’s hard? Are you struggling with infertility, waiting for the Lord to give you a baby? Are you single, waiting to meet a spouse? Did you lose a loved one? Are you overcome by unbearable grief. Maybe you have experienced trauma in your life that leaves you feeling completely alone. Maybe you lost your job and you feel discouraged. Or maybe your marriage completely fell apart this year and you have no clue how it will possibly work out.
I don’t know what you or going through, but let me encourage you. Ask yourself those three questions:
What have you learned through your struggle?
What can you take away from what you are going through? Write down the good, bad, and the ugly. You may have to get creative, but really think this through.
What have you discovered about God?
I realize you may be at a place where you are doubting God and questioning His plans for your life….and you may even be downright angry….but dig deep here! Take time to write your answers down because this may also be an opportunity to identify any lies you are believing. If so take this New Year as an opportunity to defeat those lies and cling to truth found in God’s word.
What can you be thankful for through all of this?
I understand how hard this will be, especially when you are right in the thick of it all. But despite everything within you that wants to be negative…try…try REALLY hard….to be positive! It may take some time….I know! But the answers to these questions can give you a new perspective and hope. It can help you to remain confident in Christ even during a difficult time.
This New Year
Looking back over all the New Years that I sobbed, I can’t help but sit back in awe at what the Lord has done.
This year, my 2017 best nine on Instagram includes pictures of my three boys.
(Goodness! I almost have to laugh when I see this! Just to think there was a time when I thought I may never have kids….and now I have THREE boys!)
As you look at these sweets pictures of these cute guys (I am slightly biased), please understand that my story did NOT unfold the way I thought or imagined. The life I have raising these three boys was not EXACTLY what I prayed for….but yall….I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
This new year, I am so excited to share the unexpected story God unfolded in my life with you all!
You see…through the good and bad, the Lord filled my life with so much joy – and I can’t help but want to splash it onto others who may be going through their own struggles. It is what inspires me to inspire others! It is the very thing that motivated me to start this blog.
I want to cheer you on so you don’t give up hope!
Why? Because I serve a faithful God! I believe with all my heart that no matter what you are going through…even if it doesn’t feel like it…He is right there with you. He has a plan and you can trust Him.
The Privilege to Pray
As I come to an end here…let me just say…I know I may or may not know you. But if you are going through something hard, it would be my honor and privilege to pray for you. You can leave a comment or send me an email. Don’t feel like you have to give me any details…you can simply say, “pray for me”. And I PROMISE I am not just saying “I’ll be praying for you”; I truly mean that I will specifically pray for YOU!
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.
Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NLT)
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