flying birds

It’s not a big secret to those who know me well that I absolutely hate flying. It’s not the lines, the tight seating, or the occasionally rude airline staff. It’s fear. Every bump and dip has me white knuckling the arm rests. As the plane descends and we get closer the that runway my breathing evens out and with touchdown my muscles relax again. Some flights are better than others, but I never love boarding a plane.

A few months ago I had to fly to Tennessee to speak at an event. The two flights to get there, while short, were some of my worst. We first  took off in the middle of a thunderstorm and never flew out of the rough weather. The ride was bumpy and jolting. My palms were wet and my heart was thundering out of my chest. I wanted desperately to talk to someone to get my mind off the flight, but to my great annoyance the man seated next to me was sound asleep (and had been the entire flight… the nerve.) So I took out my Bible to read something comforting but I could not focus on the words. Eventually I grabbed my notebook and started journaling some thoughts. I was a little surprised at what I wrote when I read over it later.

You see, when I fly my preference is the window seat. There is something very comforting to me about looking out that tiny window to see the clouds as a steady white line below us. When the plane feels like it’s lurching and dipping and bumping it’s way through the sky, I can look out and see we are cruising just fine – that white line is steady and straight below. In my moments of greatest fear I look out the window and see that all is fine regardless of how rough things feel. But lately all I’ve had are isle seats. Sometimes my seatmates like to look out the window too, and I can look past them at that white line of clouds when I need to. But usually I’m seated next to seasoned business men who do this every week and just want to sleep through the flight. They board, the shade goes down, and I’m left blind. In the dark. Unable to look out when I want that comfort that everything is okay. Or sometimes the window is left open but we’re flying through the clouds instead of over them and my visibility is blocked again. It’s rough, bumpy, and I can’t see if everything is okay or not. These are my moments of greatest fear, and my moments of deepest faith.

My life has followed this pattern more than not. God doesn’t give me a telescope into my future. I have no idea how tomorrow will turn out. Sometimes the sun is shining, everything is fine, and I look out the window to see puffy white clouds and know I’m doing alright. But often I start flying and the shade is drawn or I’m heading through the clouds and I cannot see. How will this turn out? Will this crash and burn and fail miserably? Will my heart be broken? Will things be okay? And those are the moments in flight that I have to trust through my fear that God is just as able. The reality is that my trust is not in my visibility or in a steady line of puffy clouds… but in the One who made the clouds and me and my life. The One who makes my flight path both bumpy and smooth and sometimes re-routes me and always brings me home safely… even if it wasn’t my original definition of “safe” or “home.”

*I’ve started fresh with a new facebook page and I’d love to have you join me over there! Just click here to like the new page and follow along with this blog!*

daily bread

When I first started this blog nearly six years ago it was because I had some things I needed to express and while I had (and still have) a beautiful group of friends who love me, there wasn’t one who could empathize with what I was going through. Not one. They had compassion, love, sympathy… but not the true understanding that comes with walking the same journey. So I started writing.

The truth is I didn’t find many women who could relate in the blog world at first either. Because what I was talking about (not exclusively) was infertility. Many of us have learned over the years that it isn’t socially acceptable to talk about that. It’s awkward. It’s unfixable pain. As a society we are terribly uncomfortable with pain, especially when it’s an unsolvable problem.

It’s just the way we’ve been trained. Even in the Church. Yes, some of my most painful moments have been sitting in the pew or standing in the fellowship hall. “Why don’t you have kids yet?” “Well, we’ve been trying for years and were told it isn’t likely.” “Well if you just have enough faith God will bless you with children.” Ouch. Not only am I infertile, but now I am a faithless Christian. Except I’m pretty sure I’ve held onto at least a mustard seed of faith throughout the years. Why else would I hold out hope and still feel a tinge of disappointment at the end of each month… even nine years later? And if it only takes a mustard seed sized amount of faith to move mountains then why on earth has my infertility not crumbled to the ground? Could it be because I have faith larger than a mustard seed that God has another plan for me? I think so.

And pain. Let’s be okay with it. We can’t live in the deepest stages of grief forever because we were made for greater things. But we can hurt and cry and let our hearts break. We don’t have to stifle the tears or hide our hurts. We live in a broken world. Just turn on the news. But ignoring pain only makes it greater. Stifling a hard story only drives the ache deeper.

As I entered into the adoption world I began to meet other women who were experiencing infertility. And as I got more open about sharing my story they started coming out of the woodwork like you wouldn’t believe. All had a similar refrain, “I suffer in silence because no one wants to hear about it.” No one wants to hear about it. Ignored. Left out. Stifled. Misunderstood.

I was recently interviewed for an article that will publish in a Christian magazine sometime in the coming months. The journalist shared with me that every person she’d interviewed said the same thing – the Church doesn’t address infertility. The Church is unequipped or flat out refuses to meet this need. (In general!! I am sure there are some churches who are doing this well, and some that are trying. But as a whole, the American Church is failing in this area). Then she asked me the question. “What are you doing to meet this need, if anything?”

There it is. I explained that I am sometimes asked to travel to speak to women or churches about infertility and that I always accept those invitations… that I blog about it on occasion. That I’m working on a book proposal and I hope a publisher will pick it up. But that question has been gnawing at me and I finally get why.

You see, it MUST start with us. Who do the young women just beginning their infertility story and those knee deep in the weeds of it need to hear from the most? US. Those of us who have been through this for a while – seen the ups and downs, twists and turns, been to the bottom and clawed our way back up again. Those of us who have been carried, and finally recognized it, and have found HOPE again need to be the ones reaching out. Because back when I was in year one, two, three, four, and five of this mess I didn’t want to hear from someone who hadn’t gone through infertility. I didn’t want to hear from the mom who waited six whole months to get pregnant. I didn’t want to hear from the pastor or elders or older women in the church who didn’t go through it. I wanted friends who were in the thick of it like me! And I wanted to hear from the infertile woman who lived through the battle and had JOY and HOPE and PEACE. But she was nowhere to be found. And no one I knew could find her for me either.

So now that I am beginning year ten of this thing called infertility I feel a responsibility to be her. I have found my friends and my community of gals who get it. I’ve found a small band of women who aren’t afraid to SPEAK UP. And that’s just what we’re going to do. Fill the gap, meet a need, and be the woman that 24 year old me needed so desperately.

We’ve got something cooking and it’s grown to be bigger than I was first imagining. But I am so honored and excited to be called to serve in this way. In the meantime let’s encourage and rally around the ones who are being brave and beautiful and speaking up! Check out my friend Wynne’s latest posts… and head on over to Katie’s to learn how to be a friend. <3

 

  • Megan - This is beautiful. Infertility DOES matter. To God, to those it affects, and it should matter to the body of Christ. I’m glad He is leading you to be bold and share hope for those in this walk.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanne - Lauren, you are always SO WISE!! Yes!! I feel like your posts are always somehow directly from my own heart. I can remember meeting a family friend in the grocery store about 2 years into our infertility journey and she remarking “OH THANK GOD you don’t have children yet” (she thought we were too young) I kept my mouth shut and cried after she left. See, instead of telling the truth when she asked if we had any kids yet I just smiled and politely said “no, not yet”. Why? Because that is what we’re trained to do. It’s the dirty secret that no one wants to talk about and then we feel a shame when it happens to us because no one talks about it! Such a terrible cycle!
    I can’t wait for your book to be picked up, I’m sure it will be amazing too. xoReplyCancel

  • Ashley - I had the exact same thing said to me- “If you just had more faith, you’d get pregnant”. UGH! That was many years ago and it still makes me mad to think about.
    Thank you for speaking up! I think that’s why God allows some of us to experience infertility, so we can walk beside others in the trenches and encourage them that God is still good and faithful and loving.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Evelyn Smith - Thank you for writing about this. As someone who has not experienced infertility, you’ve helped teach me how to better serve my friends who are going through it. I can only provide so much support but before reading your blog I would have probably been an avoider too. You’re doing good things here.ReplyCancel

  • Samara - Yes! I want people who are travelling this journey with me. I am relatively new to this infertility thing (one year), however over this time I have slowly realised that I need to help create the community that I am craving. I am slowly becoming more and more brave and sharing with more and more people, but golly it’s hard. I am so thankful for women like you on the internet who are encouraging women like me :) ReplyCancel