Sundays used to be my favorite day of the week because I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, seen and loved. I felt the Spirit easily and knew that God’s plan was right— no matter how hard things got. I understood that during trials, if we just held tight to God and Jesus Christ, then everything would work out soon, because it always had worked out that way. For me, trials were pop-quizzes of faith and they were usually over pretty quickly. I had never been given an in-depth exam on my faith before. I lived my life with basic checklists of obedience and that obedience brings blessings and if we want a specific blessing then we just need to follow specific rules and then BOOM magic, we get that thing. I always had the idea that obedience and faith were simply “just something I was good at.” (Which, honestly wasn’t wrong.) I had a sure and solid testimony of the Savior and of God’s plan for me. Everything in my life was working out according to my plan and God’s plan. I felt pretty in-tune and like I had this whole life thing figured out. And then we began trying for a baby.
I remember thinking to myself in those first few months, “God just doesn’t want it to be super easy for us because then I can relate to my sister and people who have gone through infertility for a little bit longer.”
Honestly, the first year of trying feels like a blur. I remember the negative pregnancy tests and ovulation tests pretty well… it seems like I was always in the bathroom trying to pee at the optimal time because the instructions on the box say to. (Because apparently, it can’t detect pregnancy hormones if it’s 2:30 pm… ) But my faith and trust were pretty in tact. I just knew that we would be announcing our pregnancy within a few months and I had absolutely nothing to worry about.
The second year was full of fear, but also hope. I was so scared to go to a fertility specialist because what if I “was just being dramatic?” I remember saying something to Parker about how embarrassing it would be to go to the fertility specialist one time and then find out we had just been doing things wrong and then get pregnant the first month. He responded by saying, “I hope that happens because then we’d have a baby.” And that’s when I started hoping that we were just two idiots that didn’t know what we were doing. I hoped that we would go to the fertility specialist and they would tell us that either nothing was wrong or that something was wrong. (Either one was good news to me because if nothing was wrong, then we would continue to try and hopefully get pregnant soon. If something was wrong, then we would have an action plan) Our first visit to our fertility specialist, I was diagnosed with PCOS and we were given an action plan and I was given a smidge of hope that we would be able to have babies in the near future.
This year, (we’re in our 3rd year of trying) has been a year of rebuilding but also a year of dark places and really hard days. I’ve been trying (and failing) most days to have some connection with God. There have been lots of days where I’ve felt alone and like my prayers are hitting the ceiling and coming right back down— not because they are canned or quick (okay, some are) but because I’ve felt like God just hasn’t been listening. (before you jump in with your testimonies— I know God is real. I’ve felt His love and I’ve felt His presence so clearly and strong that I can’t deny His existence) But speaking my FULL truth, there have been a lot of days in the last 2.5-3 years where feeling that love and presence has been more difficult than ever before. Instead of feeling the Spirit at church, I’ve felt anxiety and stress. I don’t want to be a debbie-downer, but infertility has had my faith S H A K E N. Sure, this experience has been one that has brought me to my knees, but it’s also caused me to doubt, live in anger towards God, and to loose faith in His plan more times than I’d like to admit. Church has been a really hard and rough experience for me over the last two and a half years and most weeks, it’s been really hard to drag myself out of bed and have any sort of desire to attend. I’ve had to go home from church on more than one occasion due to panic attacks and anxiety.
“I’m so impressed by your strength and your faith through this trial.”
“I wish I had your faith”
“Your faith is so strong!”
These are the types of comments I’ve been receiving lately and while they are so kind and so sweet, they are also something that I’ve felt like I need to put a stop to. I feel so fake when I receive these messages, because well, simply put, they’re not true. My faith is a work in progress right now and I’ve told Parker on more than one occasion that I feel like I only have hope. I’ve been trying to figure out the difference between faith and hope because in the scriptures they always come together, but are never used synonymously. One has to have faith and hope. I’ve held tight to quotes and scriptures like, Hebrews 10:36, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
“Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Alma 32: 21, “And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”
I know for a fact that I don’t have a perfect knowledge of anything. I hold onto the hope that everything will be alright in the end. I trust that the promised blessings are coming. Maybe that’s faith, but at this point, I don’t really know. I just know that I hope for a lot of things right now. I hope that we’ll be able to have babies. I hope that God is listening. I hope that I’m making good choices.
I don’t really know where I’m going with all of this except for if you find yourself wishing you had the same faith as someone else, just know that the road isn’t easy for any of us. We’re all doing the best we can. Sometimes that best looks and feels like giving 5000% and sometimes that best looks and feels like giving 5% because that’s all you have to give. Do your best and then let the Savior pick up the slack.
In my Instagram Post today, I shared some thoughts about grief. This answer to years of prayers has been very needed the last few months. So if you’re feeling overcome with grief, I highly recommend checking it out.